Transanal Irrigation for Neurogenic Bowel Disease, Low Anterior Resection Syndrome, Faecal Incontinence and Chronic Constipation: A Systematic Review

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Transanal irrigation (TAI) has received increasing attention as a treatment option in patients with bowel dysfunction. This systematic review was conducted according to the PRISMA guidelines and evaluates the effect of TAI in neurogenic bowel dysfunction (NBD), low anterior resection syndrome (LARS), faecal incontinence (FI) and chronic constipation (CC). The primary outcome was the effect of TAI on bowel function. Secondary outcomes included details on TAI, quality of life (QoL), the discontinuation rate, adverse events, predictive factors for a successful outcome, and health economics. A systematic search for articles reporting original data on the effect of TAI on bowel function was performed, and 27 eligible studies including 1435 individuals were included. Three randomised controlled trials, one non-randomised trial, and 23 observational studies were included; 70% of the studies were assessed to be of excellent or good methodological quality. Results showed an improvement in bowel function among patients with NBD, LARS, FI, and CC with some studies showing improvement in QoL. However, discontinuation rates were high. Side effects were common, but equally prevalent among comparative treatments. No consistent predictive factors for a successful outcome were identified. Results from this review show that TAI improves bowel function and potentially QoL; however, evidence remains limited.

Original languageEnglish
Article number753
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

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