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Br J Nurs. 2001 May 24-Jun 13;10(10):640-9.

Hirschsprung's disease: diagnosis and management in children.

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Continence Promotion/Stoma Care/Special Needs, St Helens and Knowsley Community Health NHS Trust, UK.


Hirschsprung's disease is a congenital abnormality of the bowel that results in loss of peristalsis, and is one of the main reasons why an infant may require a stoma soon after birth. Various stages of surgery may be required to resect the affected part of the bowel, including formation and closure of the stoma. Following surgery, the perception of many families is that their child is now "normal" and that all previous problems of managing their child are now resolved. However, there are a variety of postoperative complications and issues relating to bowel control which can affect the child in the long term. This article looks at how potential postoperative long-term problems can be identified early, and thus minimized, by healthcare staff being aware of possible problems, taking a proactive approach to management and advising families about the issues involved.

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