Hydrocolpos in cloacal malformations

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Pediatric Surgery








Anorectal malformation; Cloaca; Hydrocolpos; Vaginostomy; Vesicostomy


Introduction: Hydrocolpos is a condition rarely mentioned in the literature. The purpose of this report is to increase the index of suspicion for hydrocolpos in patients with cloaca and to describe our approach for its treatment with the hope that errors in the management of hydrocolpos can be avoided. Methods: We reviewed 411 medical records of patients diagnosed with cloaca and managed at our Center during the last 26 years. Emphasis was placed on evaluating for the presence of hydrocolpos, type of drainage, and complications related to the persistence of the hydrocolpos. Results: One hundred seventeen cloaca patients had an associated hydrocolpos (28.4%). Forty-two cases (36%) were initially managed at other institutions at which the hydrocolpos was not drained. Complications experienced by this group included: multiple urinary tract infections (8), hydrocolpos infection (7), sepsis (7), failure to thrive (6), ruptured hydrocolpos (4), and development of hydronephrosis in previously normal kidneys (2). Forty-one patients (35%) had other modalities of treatment, aimed to drain the hydrocolpos, including vesicostomy (26), intermittent perineal catheterization (8), single aspiration (6), or plasty of the perineal orifice (1). In all of these cases, the hydrocolpos persisted or reaccumulated. Thirty-four patients (29%) underwent an effective drainage of the hydrocolpos at birth; 29 at other institutions, 15 with a tube vaginostomy, 13 with a tubeless vaginostomy, and 1 with a catheter placed and left in the vagina through cystoscopy. Five cases had a tube vaginostomy done by us. In all these cases, the vagina remained adequately drained as demonstrated radiologically. Proper drainage of the hydrocolpos alone, with no urologic intervention, dramatically improved the hydronephrosis in 13 cases. Conclusions: Hydrocolpos in patients with cloacas must be diagnosed and treated early in life. Our preferred approach is a transabdominal indwelling vaginostomy tube. The drainage of the hydrocolpos alone may dramatically improve the hydronephrosis, and therefore, we suggest that only after the hydrocolpos is drained should a urological intervention be contemplated. Failure to drain the hydrocolpos can result in serious complications. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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