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Long-term outcomes of patients surgically treated for Hirschsprung disease


Background — The only curative treatment for Hirschsprung disease (HD) is surgical repair. However, some patients experience poor postoperative outcomes. We determined long-term outcomes of all HD patients in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province.

Methods — We conducted a retrospective cohort study including all children with HD born between April 1, 1991 and March 31, 2014 in Ontario using linked health administrative data. Each HD case was matched to five non-HD controls on sex, date of birth, region of residence and income and followed to March 31, 2016. Chronic diarrhea and constipation were identified using combinations of outpatient physician billing codes in both HD patients and non-HD residents of the province. We determined risk factors associated with diarrhea and constipation, including surgery type and sociodemographic characteristics, using multivariable conditional logistic regression, and reported adjusted odds ratios (aORs).

Results — There were 3,265,172 children born in the study period, of whom 673 had HD. Compared to controls, chronic constipation was more common in HD patients (27.5% versus 2.1%; aOR 17.2, 95% CI 12.6 to 23.4), as was chronic diarrhea (29.9% versus 6.9%, aOR 5.22, 95% CI 4.19 to 6.50). In HD patients, older age at surgery was associated with increased risk of chronic constipation (OR 2.71, 95% CI 1.75 to 4.20). Surgery type, sex, rural/urban residence and income were not associated with risk of chronic constipation or diarrhea.

Conclusion — Chronic constipation and diarrhea were common following surgery for HD. Older age at surgery was associated with subsequent risk of chronic constipation. Surgery type was not associated with increased risk of chronic constipation or diarrhea.



Nasr A, Grandpierre V, Sullivan KJ, Wong CA, Benchimol EI. J Can Assoc Gastroenterol. 2021; 4(5):201-6. Epub 2020 Aug 20.

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