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South African Journal of Surgery

On-line version ISSN 2078-5151
Print version ISSN 0038-2361


JALI, MI; MOODLEY, Y; KADER, S  and  CHEDDIE, S. Outcomes of haemorrhagic radiation proctitis at a South African tertiary hospital. S. Afr. j. surg. [online]. 2023, vol.61, n.1, pp.45-48. ISSN 2078-5151.

BACKGROUND: Haemorrhagic radiation proctitis occurs in 5-10% of patients undergoing radiotherapy. In our resource-constrained South African setting, this study aimed to describe the clinicopathological spectrum and management of radiation proctitis referred to a tertiary centre, to address the deficit in our setting-specific understanding of the condition METHODS: This was a sub-analysis of data from an existing colorectal cancer registry at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital in Durban. We reviewed the registry for all patients between 2008 and 2019 with haemorrhagic radiation proctitis and describe the various patient characteristics, treatments and outcomes for these patients RESULTS: Fifty-eight patients with haemorrhagic radiation proctitis were identified. Colonoscopy findings included bleeding (58 patients), endoscopic proctitis (30 patients) and rectal stricture (7 patients). The median time elapsed between radiotherapy and development of symptoms was 16.5 months (IQR 12-25). Median number of argon plasma coagulation (APC) sessions for endoscopic healing or symptom resolution was three sessions (IQR 2-4). At follow-up, 35 patients had complete healing and 19 patients had symptom improvement. Complications occurring during or after APC therapy included rectal ulceration (2 patients) and rectovaginal fistula (1 patient CONCLUSION: APC is a safe and effective treatment modality with complete resolution or significant improvement in symptomatology in the vast majority of patients with three or four treatments. Morbidity is likely to be related to ongoing radiation effects

Keywords : chronic radiation proctitis; argon plasma coagulation; radiation-induced enteritis; endoscopic management.

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