A randomized clinical trial to assess the effectiveness of pre- and post-surgical pelvic floor physiotherapy for bowel symptoms, pelvic floor function, and quality of life of patients with rectal cancer: CARRET protocol
Lorca, Luz Alejandra
Salas-Ocaranza, Roberto Ignacio
Reyes-Reyes, Guillermo Patricio
Pizarro-Hinojosa, Marta Natalia
Low anterior resection syndrome
Quality of life
Background: There is scarcity of trials about preventative strategies for low anterior resection syndrome (LARS) in rectal cancer patients. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a pre- and post-surgical pelvic floor rehabilitation program on the bowel symptoms, pelvic floor function, and quality of life of rectal cancer patients. Methods: A randomized controlled trial with parallel groups (pelvic floor rehabilitation versus control group), with a blinded evaluator. Participants and setting: 56 stage I to III rectal cancer patients aged from 18 to 80 years old undergoing sphincter preservation surgery at Hospital del Salvador and who have a sufficient knowledge of Spanish. Main outcome measures: ICIQ-B questionnaire for intestinal symptoms, high-resolution anorectal manometry (Alacer Multiplex 24-channel manometry equipment) for anorectal function, pelvic floor muscle strength test with Oxford Modified Scale, and a quality of life test with the EORTC QLQ C30 questionnaire. The evaluations will be carried out at five stages: before surgery, before and after the pelvic floor rehabilitation, and during a 3-month and 1-year follow-up. Interventions: one pre-rehabilitation session and 9 to 12 sessions of pelvic floor rehabilitation, including patient education, pelvic floor muscle exercises, pelvic floor electromyography biofeedback, and capacitive and sensory rectal training with a balloon probe. Rehabilitation will begin 3– 5weeks before the ileostomy is removed (four sessions) and around 3 weeks after stoma removal (5–8 sessions). Discussion: We expect the program to improve the bowel symptoms, pelvic floor function, and quality of life of rectal cancer patients.