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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 3826087, 6 pages
Research Article

Transanal Irrigation for Refractory Chronic Idiopathic Constipation: Patients Perceive a Safe and Effective Therapy

1Department of Colorectal Surgery, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, Durham, UK
2Department of Radiology, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, Durham, UK

Correspondence should be addressed to Kevin J. Etherson

Received 14 July 2016; Revised 6 October 2016; Accepted 10 October 2016; Published 1 January 2017

Academic Editor: Branka Filipović

Copyright © 2017 Kevin J. Etherson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Transanal irrigation (TAI) can successfully treat neurogenic bowel dysfunction (NBD), but patient perception of its use in chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) is unknown. Objective. To evaluate patient perceptions of the efficacy and safety of TAI for CIC and whether there are predictive factors of perceived treatment response. Methods. Prospective data collection of baseline physiology and symptom severity; retrospective evaluation of efficacy and safety perceptions using a snapshot survey. All patients fulfilling the Rome III criteria for functional constipation with chronic idiopathic aetiology were included. The main outcome measure was the duration of patients’ usage of TAI. Results. 102 patients reported 21,476 irrigations over 119 patient years, with a mean duration of therapy use of 60.5 weeks [SD 73.2 : SE 7.3]. Overall symptom improvement included general well-being (65%), rectal clearance (63%), bloating (49%), abdominal pain (48%), and bowel frequency (42%). 68 patients (67%) were “moderately better” or “very much better” on a satisfaction question. Reported complications were minor. No correlation was demonstrated between duration of therapy use and baseline measures. Conclusion. A significant proportion of CIC sufferers use TAI as a long-term or bridging therapy and perceive it as safe. This therapy demands a prospective investigation of efficacy and safety.