Randomized clinical trial comparing quality of life after straight and pouch coloanal reconstruction

M Sailer, K-H Fuchs, M Fein, A Thiede
British Journal of Surgery 2002, 89 (9): 1108-17

BACKGROUND: Functional results after rectal resection with straight coloanal anastomosis are poor. While most functional aspects are improved with coloanal J pouch anastomosis, it is still unclear whether this translates into better quality of life. The aim of this trial was to investigate health-related quality of life as a primary endpoint in patients undergoing sphincter-saving rectal resection.

METHODS: Sixty-four patients were randomized to either straight (n = 32) or coloanal J pouch (n = 32) anastomosis. Patients were studied before operation, at the time of stoma reversal and at 3-month intervals for 1 year thereafter. Quality of life was measured using two generic (Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index and European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-C30) and one disease-specific (EORTC QLQ-CR38) instruments. Functional results using a standardized score as well as manometric variables were recorded.

RESULTS: Thirty-nine patients (19 with a pouch and 20 with a straight anastomosis) completed the trial. There was a marked difference between the two groups with regard to quality of life profile. Patients with a pouch reconstruction had a significantly better quality of life, particularly in the early postoperative period.

CONCLUSION: Patients undergoing low anterior rectal resection and coloanal J pouch reconstruction may expect not only better functional results but also an improved quality of life in the early months after surgery compared with patients who receive a straight coloanal anastomosis.

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