BACKGROUND: Total proctocolectomy with IPAA is frequently considered the procedure of choice for surgical patients with ulcerative colitis, presumably owing to an expectation of improved quality of life in comparison with an ileostomy.
OBJECTIVE: The goal of our study was to determine whether long-term quality of life among patients with a pelvic pouch is better than those who chose a permanent stoma.
DESIGN: This investigation is a cross-sectional observational study using a prospective database.
SETTING: This study was conducted at an academic medical center.
PATIENTS: Consecutive patients who had undergone IPAA or a permanent ileostomy for ulcerative colitis by a single surgeon, presenting for their annual follow-up visit from July through September 2011, were offered participation in the study. A randomly chosen group of subjects who did not have scheduled appointments during the study period were sent a letter inviting them to participate in the study.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome measures used were EQ-5D-3L, the Short Quality of Life in Inflammatory Bowel Disease questionnaire, the Cleveland Global Quality of Life instrument, the Fecal Incontinence Quality of Life scale, and the Stoma Quality of Life scale.
RESULTS: Thirty-five patients with a pelvic pouch and 24 ostomates were accrued and comprehensively studied. Global quality-of-life scores were virtually identical for the 2 groups. Patients with a pelvic pouch had better subscores in current quality of health and energy level, Fazio score, sexuality/body image, and work/social function.
LIMITATIONS: This study was limited by its small sample size, and some of our patients were enrolled through mailed surveys and, hence, nonresponse bias may be present. The follow-up time since surgery was longer in the pelvic pouch group than in the ileostomy group.
CONCLUSION: Informed patients with ulcerative colitis choosing an ileostomy have a health-related global quality of life very similar to patients with a pelvic pouch. Better outcomes in patients with an ileal pouch were most evident in the areas of sexuality/body image and work/social function.