Prevention and management of recurrent postoperative Hirschsprung's disease obstructive symptoms and enterocolitis: Systematic review and meta-analysis

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Background/Purpose: The purpose of this study was to review the management of obstructive symptoms and enterocolitis (HAEC) following pull-through for Hirschsprung's disease. Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis (1992–2017) was performed. Included studies were: randomized controlled trials (RCT), retrospective/prospective case–control (C-C), case-series (C-S). Random-effect model was used to produce risk ratio (RR) [95% CI]. P < 0.05 was considered significant. Results: Twenty-nine studies were identified. Routine postoperative dilatations (5 C-S, 2 C-C; 405 patients): no effect on stricture incidence (RR 0.3 [0.02–5.7]; p = 0.4). Routine postoperative rectal irrigations (2 C-C; 172 patients): reduced HAEC incidence (RR 0.2 [0.1–0.5]; p = 0.001). Posterior myotomy/myectomy (4 C-S; 53 patients): resolved obstructive symptoms in 79% [60.6–93.5] and HAEC in 80% [64.1–92.1]. Botulinum toxin injection (9 C-S; 166 patients): short-term response in 77.3% [68.2–85.2], long-term response in 43.0% [26.9–59.9]. Topical nitric oxide (3 C-S; 13 patients): improvement in 100% of patients. Probiotic prophylaxis (3 RCT; 160 patients): no reduction in HAEC (RR 0.6 [0.2–1.7]; p = 0.3). Anti-inflammatory drugs (1 C-S, sodium cromoglycate; 8 patients): improvement of HAEC in 75% of patients. Conclusions: Several strategies with variable results are available in patients with obstructive symptoms and HAEC. Routine postoperative dilatations and prophylactic probiotics have no role in reducing the incidence of postoperative obstructive symptoms and HAEC. Type of study: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Level of evidence: Level II.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2423–2429
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • HAEC
  • Hirschsprung's associated enterocolitis
  • Hirschsprung's disease
  • Meta-analysis
  • Postoperative enterocolitis
  • Postoperative obstructive symptoms
  • Pull-through procedure
  • Systematic review

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