Longitudinal follow-up of children with functional nonretentive fecal incontinence

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Background & Aims: Functional nonretentive fecal incontinence (FNRFI), incontinence in the absence of signs of fecal retention, is a frustrating phenomenon in children. No data on long-term outcome are available. The aim was to investigate the long-term outcome of FNRFI patients after intensive medical treatment. Methods: Between 1990 and 1999, 119 patients (96 boys) with FNRFI were enrolled in 2 prospective, randomized trials investigating the effect of biofeedback training and/or laxative treatment. Follow-up (FU) was performed at 6 months, 1 year, and thereafter annually until September 2004. A standardized questionnaire was used to evaluate symptoms. Success was defined as a fecal incontinence frequency <1 per 2 weeks. Results: Median age (25th-75th percentiles) was 9.2 years (range, 7.9-11.6 years). A 90% FU was achieved at all stages of the study. After 2 years of intensive therapy, 33 of 112 (29.5%) patients were successfully treated. The cumulative success percentage after 7 years of FU was 80%. At the biologic ages of 12 and 18 years, 49.4% (40/81) and 15.5% (9/58), respectively, of the patients still had fecal incontinence. Duration of fecal incontinence, with 4 years of age as the starting age for fecal incontinence (when a child should be toilet trained), was not related to successful outcome or relapse. Relapse occurred in 37% of patients. Conclusions: Only 29% of the patients with FNRFI were successfully treated after 2 years of intensive treatment. Despite recovery in the majority of patients beyond puberty, at age 18 years, 15% continued to have fecal incontinence. © 2006 by the American Gastroenterological Association.




Voskuijl, W. P., Reitsma, J. B., Van Ginkel, R., Büller, H. A., Taminiau, J. A. J. M., & Benninga, M. A. (2006). Longitudinal follow-up of children with functional nonretentive fecal incontinence. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 4(1), 67–72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2005.10.001

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