Reasons for performing study: Epiploic foramen entrapment (EFE) has been associated with reduced post operative survival compared to other types of colic but specific factors associated with reduced long-term survival of these cases have not been evaluated in a large number of horses using survival analysis.
Objective: To describe post operative survival of EFE cases and to identify factors associated with long-term survival.
Methods: A prospective, multicentre, international study was conducted using clinical data and long-term follow-up information for 126 horses diagnosed with EFE during exploratory laparotomy at 15 clinics in the UK, Ireland and USA. Descriptive data were generated and survival analysis performed to identify factors associated with reduced post operative survival.
Results: For the EFE cohort that recovered following anaesthesia, survival to hospital discharge was 78.5%. Survival to 1 and 2 years post operatively was 50.6 and 34.3%, respectively. The median survival time of EFE cases undergoing surgery was 397 days. Increased packed cell volume (PCV) and increased length of small intestine (SI) resected were significantly associated with increased likelihood of mortality when multivariable analysis of pre- and intraoperative variables were analysed. When all pre-, intra- and post operative variables were analysed separately, only horses that developed post operative ileus (POI) were shown to be at increased likelihood of mortality.
Conclusions: Increased PCV, increased length of SI resected and POI are all associated with increased likelihood of mortality of EFE cases. This emphasises the importance of early diagnosis and treatment and the need for improved strategies in the management of POI in order to reduce post operative mortality in these cases.
Potential relevance: The present study provides evidence-based information to clinicians and owners of horses undergoing surgery for EFE about long-term survival. These results are applicable to university and large private clinics over a wide geographical area.