Botulinum toxin injections after surgery for Hirschsprung disease: Systematic review and meta-analysis

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BACKGROUND A large proportion of patients with Hirschsprung disease experience persistent obstructive symptoms after corrective surgery. Persistent obstructive symptoms may result in faecal stasis that can develop into Hirschsprung-associated enterocolitis, a potential life-threatening condition. Important treatment to improve faecal passage is internal anal sphincter relaxation using botulinum toxin injections. AIM To give an overview of all empirical evidence on the effectiveness of botulinum toxin injections in patients with Hirschsprung disease. METHODS A systematic review and meta-analysis was done by searching PubMed, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library, using entry terms related to: (1) Hirschsprung disease; and (2) Botulinum toxin injections. 14 studies representing 278 patients met eligibility criteria. Data that were extracted were proportion of patients with improvement of obstructive symptoms or less enterocolitis after injection, proportion of patients with adverse effects and data on type botulinum toxin, mean dose, average age at first injection and patients with associated random-effects meta-regression was used to test for possible confounding factors. RESULTS Botulinum toxin injections are effective in treating obstructive symptoms in on average 66% of patients [event rate (ER) = 0.66, P = 0.004, I2 = 49.5, n = 278 patients]. Type of botulinum toxin, average dose, average age at first injections and proportion of patients with associated syndromes were not predictive for this effect. Mean 7 duration of improvement after one botulinum toxin injections was 6.4 mo and patients needed on average 2.6 procedures. There was a significant higher response rate within one month after botulinum toxin injections compared to more than one month after Botulinum toxin injections (ER = 0.79, vs ER = 0.46, Q = 19.37, P < 0.001). Botulinum toxin injections were not effective in treating enterocolitis (ER 0.58, P = 0.65, I2 = 71.0, n = 52 patients). There were adverse effects in on average 17% of patients (ER = 0.17, P < 0.001, I2 = 52.1, n = 187 patients), varying from temporary incontinence to mild anal pain. CONCLUSION Findings from this systematic review and meta-analysis indicate that botulinum toxin injections are effective in treating obstructive symptoms and that adverse effects were present, but mild and temporary.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3268-3280
JournalWorld journal of gastroenterology
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

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