Purpose: This study was designed to investigate long-term pouch function and health-related quality of life in a single, large cohort of patients with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis for ulcerative colitis.
Methods: Data from 370 patients were included in the study. Thirty-nine patients (11 percent) did not have a functioning pouch (failures) but were included in the health-related quality of life analyses. Pouch function (Oresland score) and health-related quality of life (Short Form-36) were evaluated by postal questionnaires. A total of 88 percent of the patients with a functioning ileal pouch-anal anastomosis returned the questionnaires vs. 76 percent of the failures. Median follow-up time after ileal pouch-anal anastomosis was 15 years vs. 11 years after failure. An age-matched and gender-matched reference sample (n = 286) was randomly drawn from the Swedish Short Form-36 database.
Results: Median bowel frequency was six per 24 hours: 76 percent emptied the reservoir at night, 23 percent had urgency, 12 percent had evacuation difficulties, and 17 percent experienced soiling during the day. Fifty-two percent of the males and 32 percent of the females suffered from soiling at night. More than one-half of the patients had occasional perianal soreness, 6 percent considered the pouch to be a social handicap, and 94 percent were satisfied with their pouch. Patients with a functioning ileal pouch-anal anastomosis did not differ from the reference sample on any Short Form-36 domain, except for a reduced score in General Health (P = 0.02). Pouch function was positively correlated to health-related quality of life. Patients with pouch failure had reduced health-related quality of life in most domains.
Conclusions: Patients' satisfaction is high and functional outcome is good after ileal pouch-anal anastomosis. Poor pouch function affects health-related quality of life negatively. Patients with failure after ileal pouch-anal anastomosis are substantially limited in a variety of health-related quality of life domains.