Background: Evacuation disorders are prevalent in the adult population, and a significant portion of cases may originate from pelvic floor muscle dysfunctions. Anorectal manometry (ARM) is an important diagnostic tool and can guide conservative treatment.
Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of pelvic dysfunction in patients with evacuation disorders through clinical and manometric findings and to evaluate, using the same findings, whether there are published protocols that could be guided by anorectal manometry.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of a prospective database of 278 anorectal manometries performed for the investigation of evacuation disorders in patients seen at the anorectal physiology outpatient clinic of Hospital das Clínicas da Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto between January 2015 to June 2019 was conducted. The following parameters were calculated: resting pressure (RP), squeeze pressure (SP), high-pressure zone (HPZ), rectal sensitivity (RS) and rectal capacity (RC). The pressure measurements and manometric plots were reviewed to determine the diagnosis and to propose potential pelvic physical therapy procedures. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Fisher's exact test were used to compare the continuous variables and to evaluate the equality of variances between groups of patients with fecal incontinence (FI) and chronic constipation (CC). Results with a significance level lower than 0.05 (P-value <0.05) were considered statistically significant. Statistical analysis was performed using IBM® SPSS® Statistics version 20.
Results: The mean age of the sample was 45±22 years, with a predominance of females (64.4%) and economically inactive (72.7%) patients. The indications for exam performance were FI (65.8%) and CC (34.2%). Patients with FI had lower RP (41.9 mmHg x 67.6 mmHg; P<0.001), SP (85.4 mmHg x 116.0 mmHg; P<0.001), HPZ (1.49 cm x 2.42 cm; P<0.001), RS (57.9 mL x 71.5 mL; P=0.044) and RC (146.2 mL x 195.5 mL; P<0.001) compared to those of patients with CC. For patients with FI, the main diagnosis was the absence of a functional anal canal (49.7%). For patients with CC, the main diagnosis was outflow tract obstruction (54.7%). For patients with FI, the main protocol involved a combination of anorectal biofeedback (aBF) with tibial nerve stimulation (TNS) (57.9%). For patients with CC, the most indicated protocol was aBF combined with TNS and rectal balloon training (RBT) (54.7%).
Conclusion: There was a high prevalence of pelvic floor changes in patients with evacuation disorders. There was a high potential for performing pelvic floor physical therapy based on the clinical and manometric findings.