Purpose: To determine the degree of stress in parents of children operated for intermediate anorectal malformations, and their quality of life (QOL) at follow-up.
Methods: Forty-two of the 166 children who had undergone a sacroperineal pullthrough operation for an intermediate type of anorectal malformation, between 1996 and 2005, in the department of paediatric surgery at Christian Medical College, Vellore, responded to follow-up. The psychosocial well-being of the parents and the QOL of the children were assessed by an independent observer.
Results: The main factor which aggravated the stress and caused dissatisfaction with the final outcome was fecal soiling. Mothers bore the brunt of the care of these children, with some help from the fathers and grandparents. The QOL was also significantly affected by soiling, and improvement in soiling resulted in a dramatic improvement in the QOL.
Conclusion: Managing fecal soiling aggressively in the child with anorectal malformation, and providing social support to the family, are crucial for achieving a better QOL in these children and their families.