Launey Y, et al. Anaesthesia 2020.
Delayed defecation is common in patients on intensive care. We aimed to determine factors associated with time to defecation after admission to intensive care and in turn its association with length of stay and mortality. We studied 396 adults admitted to one of five intensive care units in whom at least 2 days' invasive ventilation was anticipated during an expected stay of at least 3 days. The median (IQR [range]) time to defecate by the 336 out of 396 (84%) patients who did so before intensive care discharge was 6 (4-8 [1-18]) days. Defecation was independently associated with five factors, hazard ratio (95%CI), higher values indicating more rapid defecation: alcoholism, 1.32 (1.05-1.66), p = 0.02; laxatives before admission, 2.35 (1.79-3.07), p < 0.001; non-invasive ventilation, 0.54 (0.36-0.82), p = 0.004; duration of ventilation, 0.78 (0.74-0.82), p < 0.001; laxatives after admission, 1.67 (1.23-2.26), p < 0.001; and enteral nutrition within 48 h of admission, 1.43 (1.07-1.90), p = 0.01. Delayed defecation was associated with prolonged intensive care stay but not mortality.