Impact of anastomotic leak on patients

All surgeons, anaesthetists and theatre staff that have cared for patients undergoing colorectal surgery, will have seen the devastating impact of anastomotic leak on patient’s lives.

Hear about the experience of one patient and their family:

The 2015 ESCP right colectomy and ileocaecal resection audit, demonstrated that the anastomotic leak rate worldwide was as high as 8.1%.

As a society, in 2017, the European Society of Coloproctology made a major declaration (The ‘Hamburg Declaration‘) that it is our responsibility as an international body of colorectal surgeons to reduce the rate of anastomotic leak worldwide by 30% over the next 5 years.


The ESCP Safe-anastomosis Programme hopes to achieve this.

Only together can we make a difference, and improve patient care.


How was the ESCP Safe-anastomosis programme created?

The ESCP Safe-anastomosis programme is the result of a large international collaboration between the ESCP Research and Cohort Studies Committees and the ESCP Education Committee.

Three sources of information were used to harmonise practice around right colectomy.

  1. Best available evidence: where possible, results of high-quality randomised trials or observational studies are presented to inform anastomotic decision making.
  2. Your ESCP data: where this is not available, technical data directly from the ESCP right colectomy and ileocaecal resection audit is presented to support the evidence base
  3. Delphi consensus: where no data is available, we present the results of a systematic consensus process involving over 400 colorectal surgeons from around the world. This highlights areas where a majority (over 75% of colorectal surgeons) agree on best practice, and where fewer than this agree and wider practice variation exists.

Importantly the ESCP Safe-anastomosis programme should be completed by any surgeons that undertake right colectomy, including general surgeons and surgeons of other subspecialties (e.g. oesophagogastric surgeons or hepatobilary surgeons) that may perform right colectomy as part of their emergency practice.


To read more about the Delphi consensus process and its results please click below:

Ileocolic anastomosis – ESCP Delphi consensus