By Lydia A Meyers RN, MSN, CWCN
Enterocutaneous Fistulae (ECF) are a major healthcare issue affecting patients, their lives and the healthcare system. ECF are defined as abnormal connections from one organ to another. The most serious condition is formation from an internal organ to the skin. According to an article by Willcutts, Scarano, & Eddins in 2005, 75% to 85% of all fistulas occur 7 to 10 days after surgery. ECF often develop as a result of the patient's medical condition, past radiation treatments in area, and malnutrition of the patient. The names of ECF are related to exit and entrance points. According to Baranoski & Ayello, 2012, the mortality rate for patients with ECF ranges from 12% to 25%. The mortality is the result of sepsis, malnutrition, and dehydration. The ECF patient faces several problems including: cost of supplies, control of exudate and quality of life issues for the patient.