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Clinical characteristics and influence of postoperative Hirschsprung-associated enterocolitis: retrospective study at a tertiary children's hospital.

PURPOSE: To explore the influence of postoperative Hirschsprung-associated enterocolitis (post-HAEC) on long-term outcomes and to identify risk factors of post-HAEC.

METHODS: The medical records of 304 eligible patients diagnosed with Hirschsprung's disease (HSCR) were reviewed. We analyzed the clinical characteristics of post-HAEC and its influence on long-term outcomes. Furthermore, risk factors for early and recurrent HAEC were identified separately.

RESULTS: The overall incidence of post-HAEC was 29.9% (91/304). We categorized early HAEC as occurring within postoperative 3 months (n = 39) and recurrent HAEC as occurring ≥ 3 episodes within postoperative 6 months (n = 25). Patients with early HAEC were more likely to experience worse nutritional status, defecation function, and quality of life compared to those with late or no episodes (P < 0.05). Similarly, the adverse influences of recurrent HAEC on these outcomes were also significant (P < 0.05). The risk factors for early HAEC included preoperative undernutrition, long-segment HSCR, and postoperative Grade 3-4 complications within 30 days. For recurrent HAEC, risk factors were preoperative malnutrition, non-parental caregivers, long-segment HSCR, and postoperative Grade 3-4 complications within 30 days.

CONCLUSION: Classification of post-HAEC based on the first episode time and frequency was necessary. The earlier or more frequent episodes of post-HAEC have detrimental influences on long-term outcomes. Furthermore, risk factors for early and recurrent HAEC were different.

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