Predictors of Outcome of Rectovaginal Fistula Surgery in Women With Crohn’s Disease

Ashish Manne, Malik B. Ahmed, Talha A. Malik


Background: Despite measures taken to control traditional risk factors like increased rectal disease activity, anorectal stenosis, and, to a lesser extent, obesity, rates of poor outcomes after rectovaginal fistula (RVF) surgery in women with Crohn’s disease (CD) are still high and require further elucidation. To bridge the gap, we sought to identify risk factors beyond the aforementioned determinants that may be associated with poor outcomes in these patients.

Methods: We designed a retrospective, unmatched, case-control study to test our hypothesis. The population comprised women with CD who underwent RVF surgery between the years of 2000 and 2013. Cases were defined as surgeries with an unsuccessful outcome at 4 weeks post-surgery, and controls represented those with a successful outcome at 4 weeks post-surgery. With multivariable logistic regression models, we sought to identify pertinent risk factors for poor outcomes after RVF surgery in these women.

Results: Of the 108 women with CD who were referred to our institution for evaluation of RVFs between 2000 and 2013, 39 underwent a total of 63 surgeries, of which 16 were cases and 47 were controls. There were no significant differences between them with regard to medications and clinical or mucosal disease severity, but a significantly higher proportion of poor outcomes arose from the group of women who underwent a mucosal flap procedure (88%) compared to those who had a seton placed (13%; P = 0.0004). The final adjusted logistic regression model demonstrated that women who underwent a mucosal flap procedure instead of a seton placement were 17.5 times more likely to have a poor surgical outcome (odds ratio (OR): 17.51; 95% confidence interval (CI): 3.12 - 98.43; P = 0.0012). Moreover, it was seen that women with active colonic mucosal disease, independent of rectal disease activity, were 4.4 times more likely to have a poor outcome (OR: 4.40; 95% CI: 1.06 - 18.26).

Conclusion: Mucosal flap procedures, representing the second, or definitive, stage in surgical treatment of RVF are associated with much worse outcomes and therefore should be preceded by aggressive medical optimization of the patient.

J Clin Med Res. 2016;8(2):126-129


Predictors; Outcome; Crohn’s disease; Perianal fistula; Rectovaginal fistula

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