Anal endosonographic assessment of the accuracy of clinical diagnosis of obstetric anal sphincter injury

Angharad Jones*, Linda Ferrari, Paula Igualada Martinez, Eugene Oteng-Ntim, Alison Hainsworth, Alexis Schizas

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Introduction and hypothesis: Obstetric anal sphincter injuries (OASIS) are a common cause of maternal morbidity with an overall incidence in the UK of 2.9% (range 0–8%). They can cause a range of physical symptoms and psychological distress. This study aims to assess the accuracy of clinical diagnosis of OASIS using endoanal ultrasound (EAUS) and the correlation between confirmed injury and change to anorectal physiology squeeze pressure and the incidence of bowel symptoms. Methods and materials: Retrospective study of prospectively collected data from 1135 women who attended the Third- and Fourth-Degree Tears Clinic at our institution, 12 weeks post-delivery, between June 2008 and October 2019. Results: OASIS was confirmed in 876 (78.8%) women and 236 (21.3%) had no injury. Of the women who underwent anorectal physiology, 45.6% had a mean maximal resting pressure below the normal range and 68.8% had a mean incremental squeeze pressure below normal. Women with confirmed OASIS had significantly lower pressures (p < 0.001) than those without a confirmed sphincter injury. Three hundred ninety-three (34.8%) women reported bowel symptoms, with those with endosonographic evidence of injury more likely to develop flatus incontinence. Conclusion: Of the women in this study with a suspected OASIS, 21.2% could be reassured that they did not have an injury. This information is useful for women considering future mode of delivery. Those with confirmed injury are more likely to complain of flatus incontinence and have reduced anal sphincter pressures.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Urogynecology Journal
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


    • Anal incontinence
    • Endoanal ultrasound
    • Obstetric anal sphincter injuries
    • Pelvic floor


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