European Society of Coloproctology Core Outcome Set for haemorrhoidal disease: an international Delphi study among healthcare professionals

R. R. van Tol, M. L. Kimman, J. Melenhorst, L. P. S. Stassen, C. D. Dirksen, S. O. Breukink*, Andreas Salat, Andreas Ommer, Pasquale Giordano, Lilli Lundby, Paola de Nardi, Raimund Strouhal, Martina Lemmerer, Konstantinos M. Stamou, Georgius Pechli-Vanidis, Nikolaos Gouvas, Evaghelos Xynos, Alexander Herold, Ingo Alldinger, Faramarz PakravanCorrado R. Asteria, Dimitri Christoforidis, Niels Qvist, Gunnar Baatrup, Nir Wasserberg, Members of the Steering Group

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AimThere is considerable heterogeneity in outcomes in studies reporting on the treatment of haemorrhoidal disease (HD). The aim of this study was to develop a Core Outcome Set (COS) for HD in cooperation with the European Society of Coloproctology.

MethodA Delphi study was performed according to the Outcome Measures in Rheumatology (OMERACT) methodology. In total 38 healthcare professionals and 30 patients were invited to the panel. Previously, 10 outcome domains and 59 outcomes were identified through a systematic literature review. In this study, these domains and outcomes were formed into one questionnaire for healthcare professionals and a separate questionnaire for patients. Sequential questionnaire rounds prioritizing the domains and outcomes were conducted. Panelmembers were asked to rate the appropriateness of each domain and outcome on a nine-point Likert scale. During a face-to-face meeting, healthcare professionals agreed on the primary and secondary end-points of the COS for HD. Finally, a short survey was sent to the healthcare professionals in order to reach consensus on how the chosen end-points should be assessed and at which time points.

ResultsThe response rate in questionnaire round 1 for healthcare professionals was 44.7% (n=17). Sixteen out of 17 healthcare professionals also completed the questionnaire in round 2. The response rate for the patient questionnaire was 60% (n=18). Seventeen healthcare professionals participated in the face-to-face meeting. The questionnaire rounds did not result in a clear-cut selection of primary and secondary end-points. Most domains and outcomes were considered important, and only three outcomes were excluded. During the face-to-face meeting, agreement was reached to select the domain symptoms' as primary end-point, and complications', recurrence' and patient satisfaction' as secondary end-points in the COS for HD. Furthermore, consensus was reached that the domain symptoms' should be a patient reported outcome measure and should include the outcomes pain' and prolapse', itching', soiling' and blood loss'. The domain complications' should include the outcomes incontinence', abscess', urinary retention', anal stenosis' and fistula'. Consensus was reached to use reappearance of initial symptoms' as reported by the patient to define recurrence. During an additional short survey, consensus was reached that incontinence' should be assessed by the Wexner Fecal Incontinence Score, abscess' by physical examination, urinary retention' by ultrasonography, anal stenosis' by physical examination, and fistula' by physical examination and MR imaging if inconclusive. During follow-up, the outcome symptoms' should be assessed at baseline, 7days, 6weeks and 1year post-procedure. The outcomes abscess' and urinary retention' should be assessed 7days post-procedure and incontinence', anal stenosis' and fistula' 1year post-procedure.

ConclusionsWe developed the first European Society of Coloproctology COS for HD based on an international Delphi study among healthcare professionals. The next step is to incorporate the patients' perspective in the COS. Use of this COS may improve the quality and uniformity of future research and enhance the analysis of evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-580
Number of pages11
JournalColorectal Disease
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • Outcomes
  • haemorrhoids
  • anal
  • surgery


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