Biofeedback Therapy for Defecatory Dysfunction "Real Life" Experience

*Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology †Department of Surgery, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.
Journal of clinical gastroenterology (Impact Factor: 3.5). 01/2013; 47(3). DOI: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e318266f43a
Source: PubMed


BACKGROUND:: Biofeedback therapy (BF) is a well-established treatment modality for patients with dyssynergic defecation and fecal incontinence (FI). Randomized controlled trials from highly specialized tertiary care centers report response rates of 70% to 80% for dyssynergic defecation and 55% to 75% for FI. Whether this therapy is as successful outside of clinical trials or specialized biofeedback referral centers remains unclear. AIM:: Our primary aim was to determine what percentage of patients referred for BF actually complete therapy and identify barriers to treatment. Our secondary aim was to determine the clinical response rate in a heterogenous population of patients undergoing BF at our institution and a variety of regional locations. METHODS:: We retrospectively reviewed patients who underwent high resolution anorectal manometry between 2007 and 2010 for symptoms of defecatory dysfunction. BF was recommended at the time of manometry analysis based on findings of dyssynergy, impaired or heightened rectal sensation, or poor augmentation of sphincter on squeeze maneuvers. Clinical response was recorded after a course of BF (≥5 sessions). RESULTS:: Two hundred three patients (78% female, 72% white; median age 52) underwent anorectal manometry for symptoms of constipation (130), FI (54), combination (12), and rectal pain (7). BF was recommended in 119 cases (58.6%): constipation (80), FI (27), combination (9), and rectal pain (3). Only 39 out of 80 (48%) patients with constipation ultimately underwent BF. Of the 27 FI cases, only 12 (44%) patients underwent BF. Barriers to BF included lack of insurance coverage, distance to local treatment facilities, and acute medical issues taking precedence. Of those who underwent at least 5 BF sessions, subjective short-term response rates based on patient opinion were 17/28 (60%) in the constipation group and 8/10 (80%) in the FI group. Age, sex, and race had no effect on whether the patients attended biofeedback or whether they responded to treatment. The location of BF also did not predict response to therapy. CONCLUSIONS:: In a heterogenous patient population, less than half of patients recommended for BF ultimately underwent therapy. Despite this, the response rates in this small population undergoing BF in the "real world" are only slightly less than published randomized control trials. Prospective studies are warranted to further elucidate and eliminate barriers to BF, especially given that "real world" BF response rates may be comparable with those seen in clinical trials.

15 Reads
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Biofeedback therapy is an instrument-based learning process centered on operant conditioning. The goal of biofeedback therapy in defecatory disorders is to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, retrain rectal sensation and coordinate pelvic floor muscles during evacuation. Biofeedback therapy, in a broader sense, includes education, counseling, and diaphragmatic muscle training as well as exercise, sensory, and coordination training. For dyssynergic defecation, biofeedback therapy is a well-known and useful treatment option that had response rates of approximately 70-80% in randomized controlled trials. Biofeedback therapy for dyssynergic defecation consists of improving the abdominal push effort together with biofeedback technique-guided pelvic floor relaxation followed by simulated defecation and/or sensory training. For fecal incontinence, the results of a randomized controlled trial, which had a response rate of 76%, indicated that biofeedback therapy is useful in selected patients who fail to respond to conservative treatment and that training to enhance rectal discrimination of sensation may be helpful in reducing fecal incontinence. The focus of biofeedback therapy for fecal incontinence is on exercising external sphincter contractions under instant feedback, either alone or synchronously with rectal distension and/or sensory training. Biofeedback therapy is a safe treatment that may produce durable improvement beyond the active treatment period; however, a well-designed study to establish a standard protocol for biofeedback therapy is needed. This review discusses the technique of biofeedback therapy to achieve the goal and clinical outcomes for constipation and fecal incontinence.
    Journal of neurogastroenterology and motility 10/2013; 19(4):532-7. DOI:10.5056/jnm.2013.19.4.532 · 2.30 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The recent development of closely spaced circumferential solid state transducers has paved the way for novel technology that includes high resolution anorectal manometry and topography (HRAM) and 3-D high definition anorectal manometry (HDAM). These techniques are increasingly being used for the assessment of anorectal neuromuscular function. However, whether they constitute a diagnostic advantage or a mere refinement of an old technology is unknown. Unlike the traditional manometry that utilized 3 or 6 unidirectional sensors, the closely spaced circumferential arrangement facilitates superior spatiotemporal mapping of pressures at rest and during various dynamic maneuvers. HDAM can provide knowledge of the three muscles that govern the anal continence namely, the puborectalis, and the internal and external anal sphincters, and can show how they mediate the rectoanal inhibitory reflex and sensorimotor responses and the spatiotemporal orientation of these muscles. Also, anal sphincter defects can be mapped and readily detected using 3-D technology. Similarly, HRAM has facilitated confirmation and development of phenotypes of dyssynergic defecation. Recently, normative data have also been reported with HRAM and HDAM, together with the influence of age, gender, and test instructions. The greater yield of anatomical and functional information may supersede the limitations of costs, fragility, and shorter life-span associated with these new techniques. Thus, HDAM and HRAM are not just new gadgets but constitute a significant and novel diagnostic advance. However, more prospective studies are needed to better define anorectal disorders with these techniques and to confirm their superiority.
    Current Gastroenterology Reports 12/2013; 15(12):360. DOI:10.1007/s11894-013-0360-2
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The severity of fecal incontinence widely varies and can have dramatic devastating impacts on a person's life. Fecal incontinence is common, though it is often under-reported by patients. In addition to standard treatment options, new treatments have been developed during the past decade to attempt to effectively treat fecal incontinence with minimal morbidity. Non-operative treatments include dietary modifications, medications, and biofeedback therapy. Currently used surgical treatments include repair (sphincteroplasty), stimulation (sacral nerve stimulation or posterior tibial nerve stimulation), replacement (artificial bowel sphincter or muscle transposition) and diversion (stoma formation). Newer augmentation treatments such as radiofrequency energy delivery and injectable materials, are minimally invasive tools that may be good options before proceeding to surgery in some patients with mild fecal incontinence. In general, more invasive surgical treatments are now reserved for moderate to severe fecal incontinence. Functional and quality of life related outcomes, as well as potential complications of the treatment must be considered and the treatment of fecal incontinence must be individualized to the patient. General indications, techniques, and outcomes profiles for the various treatments of fecal incontinence are discussed in detail. Choosing the most effective treatment for the individual patient is essential to achieve optimal outcomes in the treatment of fecal incontinence.
    World Journal of Gastroenterology 12/2013; 19(48):9216-9230. DOI:10.3748/wjg.v19.i48.9216 · 2.37 Impact Factor
Show more