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Efficacy of nitroglycerine ointment in the treatment of pediatric anal fissure

      Abstract

      Background

      Anal fissure is the most common anal disease in children. In the past few decades, the understanding of its pathophysiology has led to a progressive reduction in invasive procedures in favor of conservative treatment based on stool softeners and the relaxation of the anal sphincter. This randomized controlled study assessed the safety and efficacy of nitroglycerine (NTG) ointment in the treatment of pediatric anal fissure, which had not yet been proved.

      Patients and methods

      An unequal randomized controlled study included 105 pediatric patients with anal fissure who had presented to the private and outpatient clinics of the Central Teaching Hospital of Pediatrics during the period from February 2015 to May 2016. The control group consisted of 70 patients. Both groups were treated with classical conservative therapy of sitz bath, stool softener, and local anesthetic. In the second group, chemical sphincterotomy with 0.2% NTG ointment was used in 35 patients, and was applied at the anal canal twice daily for 8 weeks. The primary outcomes of symptomatic improvement and healed fissure, as well as side effects, were analyzed.

      Results

      The average age of patients was 2 years (range, 4 months to 5 years). Patients in the NTG group had 77% symptomatic relief and 60% healed fissure compared to the control group, which had 54% and 32.8% respectively. All were statistically significant. No serious adverse effects were noticed during the treatment period.

      Conclusion

      The use of 0.2% NTG ointment is an effective therapy for anal fissure in children in terms of good healing rate and rapid symptom relief, but it has the drawback of a long treatment period, making patient compliance more difficult, in addition to the problems of tolerance and recurrence.

      Type of study

      Prospective randomized controlled study (treatment study).

      Level of evidence

      Type 2.

      Key words

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