Enterocolitis after the surgical treatment of Hirschsprung's disease: Risk factors and financial impact

David J. Hackam, R. M. Filler, Richard H. Pearl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Background/Purpose: Enterocolitis (EC) represents a serious complication after the surgical correction of Hirschsprung's disease (HD). Although previous studies have identified risk factors associated with the development of this complication before definitive repair, the factors leading to EC after pull-through have not been examined. This study was therefore design to determine risk factors for the development of post-pull-through EC. Methods: Patients with HD treated from 1991 through 1996 at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada were assessed. Risk factors were examined in three areas: patient factors (gender, age at diagnosis, age and weight at pull-through), technical factors (type of repair, number of stages, location of transition zone, previous EC), and mechanical factors. Results: In 105 consecutive patients, the incidence of postoperative EC was 32%. There was no mortality. The risk of postoperative EC was significantly increased by mechanical factors related to anastomotic complications (relative risk, 2.8) and intestinal obstruction (relative risk, 3.5). This finding was not attributable to the general occurrence of any postoperative complication because the incidence of postoperative complications was equally distributed in patients with and without EC. The presence of EC significantly increased the number of hospital admissions, mean length of stay, and total treatment cost. Conclusion: These findings suggest the use of measures to decrease mechanical obstruction so as to decrease the incidence and impact of this potentially devastating complication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)830-833
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Enterocolitis
  • Hirschsprung's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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