Published online Jan 14, 2008. doi: 10.3748/wjg.14.272
Revised: November 15, 2007
Published online: January 14, 2008
AIM: To determine the indicated referrals to a tertiary centre for patients with anorectal symptoms, the effect of the advised treatment and the discomfort of the tests.
METHODS: In a retrospective study, patients referred for anorectal function evaluation (AFE) between May 2004 and October 2006 were sent a questionnaire, as were the doctors who referred them. AFE consisted of anal manometry, rectal compliance measurement and anal endosonography. An indicated referral was defined as needing AFE to establish a diagnosis with clinical consequence (fecal incontinence without diarrhea, 3rd degree anal sphincter rupture, congenital anorectal disorder, inflammatory bowel disease with anorectal complaints and preoperative in patients for re-anastomosis or enterostoma, anal fissure, fistula or constipation). Anal ultrasound is always indicated in patients with fistula, anal manometry and rectal compliance when impaired continence reserve is suspected. The therapeutic effect was noted as improvement, no improvement but reassurance, and deterioration.
RESULTS: From the 216 patients referred, 167 (78%) returned the questionnaire. The referrals were indicated in 65%. Of these, 80% followed the proposed advice. Improvement was achieved in 35% and a reassurance in 57% of the patients, no difference existed between patient groups. On a VAS scale (1 to 10) symptoms improved from 4.0 to 7.2. Most patients reported no or little discomfort with AFE.
CONCLUSION: Referral for AFE was indicated in 65%. Beneficial effect was seen in 92%: 35% improved and 57% was reassured. Advice was followed in 80%. Better instruction about indication for AFE referral is warranted.