Background: Anorectal malformations (ARM) are common congenital anomalies seen throughout the world. Comparison of outcome data has been hindered because of confusion related to classification and assessment systems.
Methods: The goals of the Krinkenbeck Conference on ARM was to develop standards for an International Classification of ARM based on a modification of fistula type and adding rare and regional variants, and design a system for comparable follow up studies.
Results: Lesions were classified into major clinical groups based on the fistula location (perineal, recto-urethral, recto-vesical, vestibular), cloacal lesions, those with no fistula and anal stenosis. Rare and regional variants included pouch colon, rectal atresia or stenosis, rectovaginal fistula, H-fistula and others. Groups would be analyzed according to the type of procedure performed stratified for confounding associated conditions such as sacral anomalies and tethered cord. A standard method for postoperative assessment of continence was determined.
Conclusions: A new International diagnostic classification system, operative groupings and a method of postoperative assessment of continence was developed by consensus of a large contingent of participants experienced in the management of patients with ARM. These methods should allow for a common standardization of diagnosis and comparing postoperative results.