Bedside laparoscopy in the ICU: Report of four cases

Danny Rosin, Yael Haviv, Joseph Kuriansky, Eran Segal, Oscar Brasesco, Raul J. Rosenthal, Moshe Shabtai, Amram Ayalon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) may suffer from life-threatening abdominal pathologies, which may necessitate a surgical intervention. Diagnosis may be difficult, as deep sedation and analgesia often mask symptoms, and physical examination is unreliable. Imaging studies are not accurate enough, and exploratory laparotomy carries significant morbidity and mortality rates in this patient population. The unstable patient is difficult to mobilize to the imaging department or to the operating room. Bedside laparoscopy may overcome these difficulties. Patients and Methods: We describe our initial experience with the use of bedside laparoscopy in critical patients with suspected abdominal pathology. The procedure was performed in four patients over a 4-month period and completed in all four. Results: The findings were: turbid fluid consistent with viscus perforation in a patient with unexplained sepsis after cardiac surgery, sterile hemorrhagic fluid in a patient with malignancy and thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura, a retroperitoneal mass from which biopsies were taken in a patient with sudden respiratory failure, and abdominal abscess in a patient after bowel resection for mesenteric embolism. None of these patients had a laparotomy after the laparoscopy. Patients 1 and 4 died a few hours after the procedure from sepsis, and patients 2 and 3 died several days later. Conclusion: Bedside laparoscopy in the ICU is feasible, informative, and accurate. It has a role in diagnosing abdominal pathologies and planning further treatment. It may avert a nontherapeutic laparotomy. Unfortunately, the prognosis in these patients is poor. Earlier use of this diagnostic modality may improve patient outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-309
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Laparoendoscopic and Advanced Surgical Techniques - Part A
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2001
Externally publishedYes


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