High output is a common complication after stoma formation. Although the management of high output is described in the literature, there is a lack of consensus on definitions and treatment. Our aim was to review and summarise the current best evidence.
MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, BNI, CINAHL, EMBASE, EMCARE, and ClinicalTrials.gov were searched from 1 Jan 2000 to 31 Dec 2021 for relevant articles on adult patients with a high-output stoma. Patients with enteroatmospheric fistulas and case series/reports were excluded. Risk of bias was assessed using RoB2 and MINORS. The review was registered in PROSPERO (CRD42021226621).
The search strategy identified 1095 articles, of which 32 studies with 768 patients met the inclusion criteria. These studies comprised 15 randomised controlled trials, 13 non-randomised prospective trials, and 4 retrospective cohort studies. Eighteen different interventions were assessed. In the meta-analysis, there was no difference in stoma output between controls and somatostatin analogues (g − 1.72, 95% CI − 4.09 to 0.65, p = 0.11, I2 = 88%, t2 = 3.09), loperamide (g − 0.34, 95% CI − 0.69 to 0.01, p = 0.05, I2 = 0%, t2 = 0) and omeprazole (g − 0.31, 95% CI − 2.46 to 1.84, p = 0.32, I2 = 0%, t2 = 0). Thirteen randomised trials showed high concern of bias, one some concern, and one low concern. The non-randomised/retrospective trials had a median MINORS score of 12 out of 24 (range 7–17).
There is limited high-quality evidence favouring any specific widely used drug over the others in the management of high-output stoma. Evidence, however, is weak due to inconsistent definitions, risk of bias and poor methodology in the existing studies. We recommend the development of validated core descriptor and outcomes sets, as well as patient-reported outcome measures.