Vesico-vaginal fistula in Tunisia: Epidemiology and risk factors of treatment failure

Prog Urol. 2021 Dec;31(17):1175-1181. doi: 10.1016/j.purol.2021.09.006. Epub 2021 Oct 13.


Introduction: Vesico-vaginal fistula (VVF) is a global healthcare problem that has a high prevalence in developing countries. The aim of this work is to study the epidemiological, clinical and therapeutic characteristics of VVF post-obstetric and gynecologic procedures in order to identify the predictive factors of surgical treatment failure.

Methods: Data were collected from 132 VVF patients in our institution between 1985 and 2017. VVF was classified according to Zmerli's classification. Patients underwent surgical treatment and were evaluated after a follow-up period of 6 months. Successful treatment was defined as the absence of urine leakage whereas recurrence was defined as the presence of urine leakage immediately after the surgery or after a period of dryness with a confirmed VVF. Risk factors of surgical treatment failure were identified.

Results: The average age of patients was 44 years. The patients were multiparous in 62% of cases. VVF was consecutive to hysterectomy in 62.1% of cases, and after childbirth in 34%. VVF was retro-trigonal in 99 cases (75%) and trigonal in 33 cases (25%). The average size of the fistula was 1cm (0.3-2cm). VVF repair was performed by vaginal approach in 68% of cases and abdominal approach in 32% of cases. Treatment failure was noted in 36 patients (27%). Predictive factors of treatment failure were: vaginal fibrosis (P<0.001); trigonal location of the fistula (P<0.001); large diameter of the VVF>1cm (P<0.001); and complex and complicated fistulas (P=0.02).

Conclusion: Although Tunisia is a developing country, the main cause of VVF was not obstetrical. Treatment failure, noted in almost one third of cases, was, in our series, correlated with the quality of the vaginal tissue, the size and the location of the fistula, and its complexity.

Level of proof: 4.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Fistule vésico-vaginale; Traitement; Treatment; Vesico-vaginal fistula; Épidémiologie.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Failure
  • Tunisia / epidemiology
  • Vesicovaginal Fistula* / epidemiology
  • Vesicovaginal Fistula* / etiology
  • Vesicovaginal Fistula* / surgery