✓ Among 481 children with myelomeningocele seen at the North Carolina Baptist Hospital since 1949, 46 have undergone a urinary diversion procedure, as follows: ileal loop in 43; sigmoid loop in two; and transverse colon conduit in one. The indications for diversion were incontinence in 28, urinary infection or pyelonephritis in 27, and hydronephrosis, pyelocaliectasis, and reflux in 12 patients. No deaths resulted from the diversionary procedures. One patient required early surgical revision and seven patients required late surgical revision. Two patients have since died, 44 have been followed for an average of 7.9 years, 15 for more than 10 years. Overall, of 26 patients with normal prediversionary intravenous pyelograms (IVP's), 88% now have normal or nearly normal IVP's; of 14 patients with abnormal prediversionary IVP's, 79% now have normal, improved, or unaltered IVP's. Renal function has remained normal in all 44 patients, and renal calculi have developed in 10 patients.
Ileal loop diversion appears to convert a high-pressure system into a low-pressure system, thereby helping to prevent further renal damage. This procedure tends to stabilize, rather than improve, urinary-tract function. For these children already so incapacitated by their basic disease, this goal is acceptable, particularly since it also provides continence and independence from parental nursing.