Background: In the past, children with ulcerative colitis were treated with a total colectomy, ileostomy and mucous fistula; ileal pouch-anal anastomosis was postponed until adulthood. The aim of the present study was to assess the functional outcome and quality of life after ileal pouch-anal anastomosis and determine whether it is justified to perform the operation in children when surgery is indicated.
Methods: A retrospective review of 38 medical records was carried out, of which there were 19 paediatric patients and 19 adult patients (control). A questionnaire survey was conducted. Telephone interviews were carried out for the non-respondents.
Results: Sixteen patients in the paediatric group (nine boys, mean age: 12 years) and 16 patients in the adult group (10 men, mean age: 39 years) were available for analysis. There was no operative mortality. The mean bowel frequency per week was 37 and 42. Furthermore, bowel frequency during the day was slightly lower in the paediatric group. Children had marginally better continence than adults. In the quality of life assessment, the mean utilities in the paediatric group were 0.69 and 0.84 in the preoperative and postoperative status, respectively. These were similar to those in the adult group (0.62 and 0.82). Both groups achieved significantly favourable postoperative responses in terms of ability to perform social activity, recreation and enjoying food.
Conclusions: Ileal pouch-anal anastomosis in children is safe, results in good functional outcome and improves the quality of life. Hence, it is justified to perform ileal pouch-anal anastomosis as soon as surgery is indicated rather than as a delayed procedure.