Surgical intervention does not affect short-term plasma citrulline levels in infants: implications for citrulline as a marker of postoperative intestinal complications
Background and aims: Detection of intestinal ischemia is often delayed causing extensive complications. Serum citrulline is an important parameter for bowel integrity and functionality; however, no data is available on its response on postoperative intestinal impairment in children. The aim of this study was to evaluate the native effects of intestinal surgery on the postoperative citrulline course in children.
Material and methods: In two groups, of each five children under the age of 2, undergoing either intestinal surgery (IS) or non-intestinal surgery (NIS), we monitored unspecific intestinal impairment parameters (lactate, C-reactive protein (CRP), leukocytes) and citrulline prior to surgery and on the 3rd postoperative day.
Results: In both groups the postoperative course was uneventful, including unproblematic transition to a normal diet and regular stool. Postoperatively, CRP levels were slightly increased (IS p > 0.05; NIS p < 0.05) while leukocytes and lactate levels did not show any significant changes. The citrulline levels remained constant in the perioperative period.
Conclusions: This data suggests that IS does not affect perioperative citrulline levels in children under the age of 2 years with uneventful postoperative course. Changes in citrulline following surgery might be a sign of intestinal impairment and therefore further investigations are necessary on this field.