NASBO publication reveals extent of the burden of bowel obstruction on the NHS

BDRF funded the National audit of bowel obstruction (NASBO) to improve care for this common and dangerous emergency condition.

Bowel obstruction is painful, distressing and in many cases life-threatening. It is difficult to spot early and treat, and feared by patients and surgeons alike.

The audit’s findings have just been published on the British journal of surgery’s open site – highlighting the extent of the burden bowel obstruction places on NHS resources.

NASBO covered 131 UK hospitals and collected data on 2,341 patients treated for small bowel obstruction in just 2 months.

The findings not only show just how common the condition is but also enable us to target specific areas for improvement in care, focussing particularly on timing of surgery and nutrition.

Attempts to improve care have been hampered by a lack of high quality evidence in the past, so these findings could be game changing in leading to important progress.

Matt Lee, the surgeon who led the study, said ‘This shows that bowel obstruction is a common condition and identifies some things we might be able to change to improve care for patients. The report also generates many questions for future research and we are looking forward to building on these in the coming years’.

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