OBJECTIVE: To report the urological outcome of the surgical correction of persistent cloaca, which is technically demanding and may require many procedures in an effort to preserve renal function and provide urinary continence. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A retrospective chart review from 1971 to 2003 identified 23 patients with cloacal malformations (two posterior, 21 classical) that were reconstructed. The confluence of the urethra, vagina and rectum was noted to be high in 16, low in five and unknown in two; one patient was a conjoined twin. RESULTS: The mean (range) follow-up was 9.3 (0.4-31.6) years. Urinary anomalies included 14 patients with renal anomalies (six solitary kidneys, four renal dysplasia, two pelviureteric junction, one each duplex and crossed fused) and two duplicated bladders. Vesico-ureteric reflux was present in 13 patients (57%), hydronephrosis at birth in 13, a bony vertebral abnormality in 14 and the VACTERL association in four. Total urogenita mobilization (TUM) was used in six patients and spinal cord untethering in four; a nephrectomy was required in three and partial nephrectomy in one. Upper tract dilation was still present in six patients. Age-adjusted creatinine levels were abnormal in four (18%) patients and borderline in another six (26%). In the nine patients with a solitary kidney (six solitary, three after nephrectomy), the age-adjusted creatinine level was abnormal in two and borderline in four. A vesicostomy was initially performed in 11 patients. The method of bladder emptying is known in 22; 10 void, 11 require clean intermittent catheterization (five abdominal stoma, six urethral) and one was diverted with a conduit. Of the 18 patients aged >47 months 15 were continent (14 complete >4 h, one partial 2-4 h), and three are wet (one conduit). Reconstruction of the lower urinary tract included four bladder augmentations (one ureteric, one ileal, two colon), five bladder neck procedures (two artificial sphincter, one each bladder neck repair, sling, bladder neck division) and six catheterizable channels (one now with a colon conduit). The ureters were re-implanted in 12 patients. CONCLUSION: Although the surgical correction of this rare malformation is complex, the upper urinary and lower urinary tract outcome can be favourable, albeit after several reconstructive procedures. TUM has emerged as the primary method for vaginal reconstruction, but the long-term lower tract outcome after this procedure is awaited.
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