Children with high and intermediate imperforate anus: remembering and talking about medical treatment carried out early in life.

Pediatric surgery international

PubMedID: 18668253

Ojmyr-Joelsson M, Christensson K, Frenckner B, Nisell M, Lindholm T. Children with high and intermediate imperforate anus: remembering and talking about medical treatment carried out early in life. Pediatr Surg Int. 2008;24(9):1009-15.
Treatment of children with high and intermediate imperforate anus entails several different surgical procedures during the first 3-12 months of life, which are accompanied by a strict follow-up treatment regimen. It has not been studied whether the children remember this treatment carried out early in life. Research has shown that small children may demonstrate so-called non-verbal memories of salient events occurring in early childhood. The purpose was to examine whether children with imperforate anus showed distressing memories of previous medical treatment and whether parent-child dialog about medical treatment is related to the child's psychosocial functioning later in life. Parents of 25 children (9 boys, 16 girls) with high and intermediate imperforate anus participated in the study. The mean age among the children was 10.5 years (range 8.0-13.6). A comparison group of 30 children (5 boys and 25 girls) with juvenile chronic arthritis also participated in the study. The mean age was 10.6 years (range 7.8-13.6). All parents answered the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL/4-18) and a study-specific questionnaire. Children in both groups were reported to show distressing memories of early treatment. Children who had been talked to showed good psychosocial function and were in a better mood and less angry than those who had not been talked to. Parent-child discussions about the child's experiences of medical treatment did not seem to be harmful or in any other way detrimental to the child, instead such discussions seemed to facilitate the child's psychosocial functioning.