• Controlled open drainage of the abdomen (gauze in plastic intestinal bag/surgical glove packing of abscesses; wound closure only to the degree needed to prevent evisceration) was compared with closed drainage (soft rubber or sump drains; complete fascial closure) in 31 patients with severe intraabdominal sepsis. Three (23%) of 13 patients died after open drainage vs eight (44%) of 18 after closed drainage. The difference was attributable to a lower incidence of recurrent abscesses in the former group (one recurrence) than in the latter (six recurrences). Thus, controlled open drainage may improve survival in this highly lethal condition.
(Arch Surg 1985;120:629-631)