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Functional outcomes after transanal total mesorectal excision (TaTME): a random forest analysis to predict patients’ outcomes

Tech Coloproctol. 2023 Mar 5. doi: 10.1007/s10151-023-02775-5. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: Anorectal, sexual, and urinary dysfunction are common issues after rectal cancer surgery, although seldom explored. The primary aim of this study was to investigate postoperative anorectal functional results.

METHODS: Patients with mid/low-rectal cancer treated with transanal TME (TaTME) with primary anastomosis with/without diverting stoma between 2015 and 2020 were reviewed and selected if they had a minimum follow-up of 6 months (from the primary procedure or stoma reversal). Patients were interviewed using validated questionnaires and the primary outcome was bowel function based on Low Anterior Resection Syndrome (LARS) scores. Statistical analyses were performed to identify clinical/operative variables correlated with worse outcomes. A random forest (RF) algorithm was computed to classify patients at a greater risk of minor/major LARS.

RESULTS: Ninety-seven patients were selected out of 154 TaTME performed. Overall, 88.7% of the patients had a protective stoma and 25.8% reported major LARS at mean follow-up of 19.0 months. Statistical analyses documented that age, operative time, and interval to stoma reversal correlated with LARS outcomes. The RF analysis disclosed worse LARS symptoms in patients with longer operative time (> 295 min) and stoma reversal interval (> 5.6 months). If the interval ranged between 3 and 5.6 months, older patients (> 65 years) reported worse outcomes. Finally, no statistical difference was documented when comparing the rate of minor/major LARS in the first 27 cases versus others.

CONCLUSION: One-quarter of the patients developed major LARS after TaTME. An algorithm based on clinical/operative variables, such as age, operative time, and time to stoma reversal, was developed to identify categories at risk for LARS symptoms.

PMID:36871281 | DOI:10.1007/s10151-023-02775-5

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