Hirschsprung Disease in Down Syndrome: An Opportunity for Improvement

Rebecca A. Saberi, Gareth P. Gilna, Blaire V. Slavin, Carlos T. Huerta, Walter A. Ramsey, Christopher F. O'Neil, Eduardo A. Perez, Juan E. Sola, Chad M. Thorson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Down syndrome (DS) is the most common abnormality associated with Hirschsprung disease (HD). It has been suggested patients with HD and DS have worse outcomes, however the literature is controversial. Methods: The Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID) from 2003 to 2012 was used to identify newborns with HD. Demographics, hospital characteristics, and outcomes were compared among patients with and without DS using standard statistical tests. Results: There were 481 patients identified with HD, of which 45 (9%) had DS. Patients with DS were older at the time of first rectal biopsy (6 [3–11] days vs. 4 [3–6] days, p = 0.012). There were no differences in operative versus non-operative management in patients with and without DS (p = 0.706). Hospital length of stay was longer in the DS cohort (22 [13–33] days vs. 15 [10–24] days, p = 0.019), and patients with DS were more likely to have a concomitant diagnosis of wound infection (<12% vs. 3%, p = 0.002) and necrotizing enterocolitis (<14% vs. 5%, p = 0.018). The mortality rate for patients with DS was four times higher than those without DS (< 5% vs. < 0.8%, p = 0.018). Conclusion: In this nationwide cohort of patients with Hirschsprung disease, those with Down syndrome experienced delays in diagnosis and worse outcomes. Level of evidence: Level III. Type of study: Treatment study, retrospective comparative study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Aganglionosis
  • Chromosomal anomalies
  • Down syndrome
  • Hirschsprung disease
  • Trisomy 21

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery


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