Factors influencing the incidence of Hirschsprung associated enterocolitis (HAEC)

Published:February 24, 2019DOI:



      This study aims to characterize risk factors for Hirschsprung-associated enterocolitis (HAEC). We hypothesize that earlier pull-through surgery is associated with lower risks of developing postoperative HAEC.


      A comparative study of 171 Hirschsprung patients treated from 1990 to 2017 was performed. Patients without HAEC were compared to patients with preoperative and/or postoperative HAEC. Results are presented as median [IQR] or frequency (%). Pearson's χ2 test and Wilcoxon rank sum test were performed with a significance level at p < 0.05. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to adjust for potential confounders. A subanalysis was done to evaluate laparoscopic, laparotomy, and transanal surgeries.


      Risk of developing preoperative HAEC was significantly associated with congenital malformations (OR 2.63 [1.11, 6.24]; p = 0.02). Birth weight was lower in patients with preoperative HAEC (OR 0.48 [95% CI 0.25, 0.93]; p = 0.03). On regression analysis, intestinal obstruction after surgery was significantly associated with postoperative HAEC (OR 8.2 [3.18, 21.13]; p < 0.0001). Patients with earlier pull-through surgery did not have a lower risk of developing postoperative HAEC.


      Timing of surgery does not seem to be associated with a higher risk of developing pre- and postoperative HAEC. Predisposing factors for preoperative HAEC included associated malformations and lower birth weight, whereas intestinal obstruction was found to be associated with postoperative HAEC.

      Type of study

      Treatment study.

      Level of evidence

      Level III.


      HSCR (Hirschsprung disease), HAEC (Hirschsprung-associated enterocolitis), IQR (interquartile range), N/A (not available), AIC (Akaike information criterion)

      Key words

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