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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2020 December;56(6):741-55

DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.20.06412-6


language: English

Treatments in neurogenic bowel dysfunctions: evidence reviews and clinical recommendations in adults

Stefania MUSCO 1, Gabriele BAZZOCCHI 2, Jacopo MARTELLUCCI 3, Maria P. AMATO 4, Alberto MANASSERO 5, Daria PUTIGNANO 6, Stefania LOPATRIELLO 6 , Davide CAFIERO 6, Francesca PAOLONI 7, Giulio DEL POPOLO 1

1 SOD of Neuro-Urology, Careggi University Hospital, Florence, Italy; 2 Technical and Scientific Committee, Montecatone Rehabilitation Institute S.p.A, Imola, Bologna, Italy; 3 Pelvic Unit, Careggi University Hospital, Florence, Italy; 4 Department of Neurology, Careggi University Hospital, Florence, Italy; 5 Unit of Neuro-Urology, Molinette Hospital, Città della Salute e della Scienza, Turin, Italy; 6 Helaglobe S.r.l., Florence, Italy; 7 GIMEMA Franco Mandelli Onlus, Rome, Italy

INTRODUCTION: Neurogenic bowel dysfunction (NBD) is an impairment of defecation control due to any nervous system lesion negatively affecting physical health status and quality of life. We aimed at systematically assessing all available evidence on NBD treatment in adults and providing clinical management guidance and recommendations.
EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: PICOs and questions (N.=7) were identified by an expert panel. We searched for and retrieved evidence from the PUBMED and EMBASE databases, limited to the English language and the Western countries context, related to any type of setting and published from 2009 to 2019. Health effects, patient values, preferences and resource use were assessed. Of all, only RCTs, observational studies and systematic reviews on adult population (≥18 years) were analyzed. The study was conducted according to PRISMA guidelines and Cochrane recommendations. The effect size, if possible, was calculated for the interpretation of the outcomes, and evidence was assessed through the GRADE method.
EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: Thirty-one studies were included in our qualitative synthesis. Evidence is generally scarce. Most of the outcomes are narratively described and therefore defined by imprecision. Besides, most of the included studies are affected by risk of bias. Digital stimulation was found to be effective in short term follow-up. The pharmacological treatment choice, combined or alone, needs to be balanced case by case considering clinical history, setting of use and bowel management protocol. According to only one RCT supporting evidence mainly in persons affected by spinal cord injury (SCI), trans-anal irrigation (TAI) improves QoL and patient independency with a significant reduction of time spent for defecation and daily bowel program. History of urinary infections predicts the choice of using TAI. Patient-reported efficacy of colostomy alone or in combination with other surgeries appears evident in terms of patient’s satisfaction and QoL over time. Nonetheless, perioperative and late complications can occur and may result in reduced acceptability over time.
CONCLUSIONS: Evidence is somehow weak and mainly reported in SCI. The systematic use of assistive interventions does not reduce the need of conservative or invasive approaches. Studies are needed on the role of bowel management in protecting patients from complications secondary to NBD in long term follow-ups.

KEY WORDS: Neurogenic bowel; GRADE approach; Urinary tract infections; Spinal cord injury

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