Total colonic aganglionosis in Hirschsprung disease

Semin Pediatr Surg. 2012 Nov;21(4):302-9. doi: 10.1053/j.sempedsurg.2012.07.004.


Total colonic aganglionosis (TCA) is a relatively uncommon form of Hirschsprung disease (HSCR), occurring in approximately 2%-13% of cases. It can probably be classified as TCA (defined as aganglionosis extending from the anus to at least the ileocecal valve, but not >50 cm proximal to the ileocecal valve) and total colonic and small bowel aganglionosis, which may involve a very long segment of aganglionosis. It is not yet clear whether TCA merely represents a long form of HSCR or a different expression of the disease. There are many differences between TCA and other forms of HSCR, which require explanation if its ubiquitous clinical features are to be understood. Clinically, TCA appears to represent a different spectrum of disease in terms of presentation and difficulties that may be experienced in diagnosis, suggesting a different pathophysiology from the more common forms of HSCR. There is also some evidence suggesting that instead of being purely congenital, it may represent certain different pathophysiologic mechanisms. This study, in addition to reviewing current understanding and differences between TCA and the more frequently encountered rectosigmoid (or short-segment) expression, correlates them with what is currently known about the genetic and molecular biological background. Moreover, it reviews current outcomes to find consensus on management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple
  • Colon / diagnostic imaging
  • Colon / pathology
  • Enterocolitis / etiology
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Hirschsprung Disease* / diagnosis
  • Hirschsprung Disease* / genetics
  • Hirschsprung Disease* / physiopathology
  • Hirschsprung Disease* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • Radiography
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Genetic Markers