Diagnostic accuracy of anorectal manometry for fecal incontinence: a meta-analysis

Background: Anorectal manometry (ARM) is conventionally used to assess patients with fecal incontinence (FI). This review aims to establish the diagnostic accuracy of ARM for FI.

Method: A search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, Science Citation Index Expanded and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) in the Cochrane Library was performed. Studies examining the sensitivity and specificity of ARM measures, either individually or combined, in the diagnosis of FI, were included. Data analysis was conducted using the bivariate statistical method.

Results: Seven studies were included out of an initial search of 1499 studies. The summary sensitivity and specificity for ARM as an overall test were 0.80 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.69–0.88) and 0.80 (95% CI: 0.65–0.90), respectively. The diagnostic odds ratio (DOR) for ARM was found to be 16.61 (95% CI: 5.52–50.03). The positive likelihood ratio (PLR) and negative likelihood ratio (NLR) for ARM were found to be 4.09 (95% CI: 2.11–7.94) and 0.25 (95% CI: 0.14–0.42), respectively. Subgroup analysis based on four studies reporting on maximum resting pressure (MRP) demonstrated a sensitivity, specificity, DOR, PLR and NLR of 0.60 (95% CI: 0.38–0.79), 0.93 (95% CI: 0.80–0.97), 20.0 (95% CI: 4.00–91.00), 8.60 (95% CI: 3.00–24.30) and 0.43 (95% CI: 0.24–0.76), respectively.

Conclusion: ARM has been shown to be an accurate test for diagnosing FI. Further studies are required to establish the diagnostic accuracy of individual ARM measures.