Please cite this paper as: Frajzyngier V, Ruminjo J, Asiimwe F, Barry T, Bello A, Danladi D, Ganda S, Idris S, Inoussa M, Lynch M, Mussell F, Podder D, Barone M. Factors influencing choice of surgical route of repair of genitourinary fistula, and the influence of route of repair on surgical outcomes: findings from a prospective cohort study. BJOG 2012;119:1344–1353.
Objective The abdominal route of genitourinary fistula repair may be associated with longer term hospitalisation, hospital-associated infection and increased resource requirements. We examined: (1) the factors influencing the route of repair; (2) the influence of the route of repair on fistula closure 3 months following surgery; and (3) whether the influence of the route of repair on repair outcome varied by whether or not women met the published indications for abdominal repair.
Design Prospective cohort study.
Setting Eleven health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
Population The 1274 women with genitourinary fistula presenting for surgical repair services.
Methods Risk ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were generated using log-binomial and Poisson (log-link) regression. Multivariable regression and propensity score matching were employed to adjust for confounding.
Main outcome measures Abdominal route of repair and fistula closure at 3 months following fistula repair surgery.
Results Published indications for abdominal route of repair (extensive scarring or tissue loss, genital infibulation, ureteric involvement, trigonal, supratrigonal, vesico-uterine or intracervical location or other abdominal pathology) predicted the abdominal route [adjusted risk ratio (ARR), 15.56; 95% CI, 2.12–114.00]. A vaginal route of repair was associated with increased risk of failed closure (ARR, 1.41; 95% CI, 1.05–1.88); stratified analyses suggested elevated risk among women meeting indications for the abdominal route.
Conclusions Additional studies powered to test effect modification hypotheses are warranted to confirm whether the abdominal route of repair is beneficial for certain women.