Original Article

Spinal Cord (2009) 47, 545–549; doi:10.1038/sc.2008.159; published online 23 December 2008

Long-term outcome and safety of transanal colonic irrigation for neurogenic bowel dysfunction

P M Faaborg1,2, P Christensen1,2, B Kvitsau1, S Buntzen1, S Laurberg1 and K Krogh2

  1. 1Surgical Research Unit, Department of Surgery P, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
  2. 2Neurogastroenterology Unit, Department of Hepatology and Gastroenterology V and Department of Surgery P, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark

Correspondence: Dr PM Faaborg, Surgical Research Unit, Department of Surgery P, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus Sygehus, Tage-Hansensgade 2, DK—8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. E-mail: pmfaaborg@gmail.com

Received 3 October 2008; Revised 30 October 2008; Accepted 5 November 2008; Published online 23 December 2008.

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Abstract

Study design:

 

Long-term follow-up study.

Objectives:

 

Short-term results find transanal colonic irrigation (TAI) favourable in the treatment of neurogenic bowel dysfunction (NBD). Therefore, long-term results need to be described.

Setting:

 

Department of Surgery P, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark.

Methods:

 

Between 1994 and 2007, 211 (115 female) patients with NBD (age: 7–81 years (median 49)) were introduced to TAI. One hundred and seventy-three patients had spinal cord injury and 38 had other neurological disorders. Data were obtained from hospital records and a mailed questionnaire. Treatment was considered successful in patients still using TAI, patients who had used TAI until they died and patients whose symptoms had resolved while using TAI.

Results:

 

Successful outcome was achieved in 98 (46%) patients after a mean follow-up of 19 months (range 1–114 months). A Kaplan–Meier plot showed a dropout of 20% in the first 3 months. After 3 years, the rate of success was 35% and remained almost unchanged afterwards. A regression analysis showed male gender (odds ratio (OR) 2.1), mixed symptoms (OR 2.9) and prolonged colorectal transit time (OR 2.4) to be significantly associated with successful outcome. One non-lethal bowel perforation occurred in approximately 50000 irrigations (0.002%), whereas minor side effects were observed in 48%.

Conclusion:

 

After a mean follow-up of 19 months, 46% was successfully treated. The rate of success was 35% after 3 years and remained almost unchanged afterwards. TAI is safe and can be introduced to most patients suffering from NBD.

Keywords:

constipation, faecal incontinence, neurogenic bowel dysfunction, transanal irrigation, spinal cord injury