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Quality of life and disease-specific functioning of patients with anorectal malformations or Hirschsprung's disease: a review
  1. E E Hartman1,
  2. F J Oort2,3,
  3. D C Aronson4,
  4. M A Sprangers2
  1. 1Developmental Psychology, Tilburg University, Tilburg, the Netherlands
  2. 2Medical Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  3. 3Pedagogical and Educational Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  4. 4Department of Pediatric Surgery, University Hospital of Nijmegen, Nijmegen, the Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Esther E Hartman, Developmental Psychology, Tilburg University, Room number P 707, PO Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg, the Netherlands; e.e.hartman{at}


The objective of this review was to examine disease-specific functioning (ie, faecal functioning and disease-related psychosocial problems) and quality of life (QoL)in patients with anorectal malformations (ARMs) or Hirschsprung's disease across different developmental stages. A search on PubMed yielded 22 eligible studies which were analysed. Patients with ARM or Hirschsprung's disease report slightly more QoL problems than comparison groups. As compared with adolescents, children reported better QoL but worse disease-specific functioning. Relationships between disease-specific functioning and QoL remain unclear. Therefore, to disentangle the complex relationship between the faecal functioning of these patients and their QoL through childhood, adolescence and adulthood, longitudinal studies should examine disease-specific functioning with validated QoL questionnaires that include age-specific versions.

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  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Competing interests None.

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