Despite low anterior resection syndrome being a well-known consequence of sphincter-preserving rectal cancer surgery, the long-term effect on bowel function and quality of life is not fully understood.
This study aimed to elucidate whether symptoms of low anterior resection syndrome change over time and if the correlation to quality of life is equivalent when measured at 2 time points.
This prospective cohort study included measurements at 2 time points (5 years between; range, 7.1–16.1 years from surgery to second follow-up).
This multicenter study included patients from Sweden and Denmark.
Patients were included if they were ≥18 years of age and underwent curative rectal cancer surgery with either total or partial mesorectal excision.
Outcomes were measured with the low anterior resection syndrome questionnaire including a question assessing the impact of bowel function on quality of life and with the validated quality-of-life questionnaire EORTC QLQ-C30.
In total, 282 patients were included and there were no statistically significant differences in the distribution among the 3 groups (no, minor, and major low anterior resection syndrome) when comparing time points follow-up 1 with follow-up 2 (p = 0.455). At follow-up 2, 138 patients (49%) still experienced major impairment. No both statistically and clinically significant differences were seen in the mean score of EORTC QLQ-C30 when comparing the same low anterior resection syndrome group at follow-up 1 and follow-up 2, and the impact on quality of life was comparable. Global health status/quality of life was impaired in the major low anterior resection syndrome group at both follow-up 1 (p < 0.001) and follow-up 2 (p < 0.001).
The study design prevents an evaluation of causality.
Difficulties with low anterior resection syndrome and the impact on patients’ quality of life persist over time. See Video Abstract at http://links.lww.com/DCR/A762.
1 Department of Surgery, South General Hospital (Södersjukhuset), Stockholm, Sweden
2 Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
3 Department of Surgery, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
4 Department of Surgery K, Regional Hospital Randers, Denmark
Funding/Support: This work was supported by the Bengt Ihre Foundation.
Financial Disclosure: None reported.
Correspondence: Emil Pieniowski, M.D., Department of Surgery, South General Hospital (Södersjukhuset), 118 83 Stockholm, Sweden. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org