Purpose: Awareness of Hirschsprung's-associated enterocolitis (HAEC) among patient's families and medical staff can lead to prompt recognition of symptoms and earlier implementation of management. We designed an HAEC medical alert card to raise awareness of HAEC among medical staff and carers of children with Hirschsprung's disease (HD). Our aim was to investigate parental opinion on the utility of this tool.; Methods: All patients diagnosed with HD in two institutions over a period of 14 years received an HAEC alert card and were invited to answer a 1-year follow-up structured questionnaire.
Results: A total of 123 patients received an HAEC card. The response rate for the follow-up questionnaire was 62% (n = 76). The majority 96% (n = 73) of the responders considered the card useful. A total of 89% (n = 68) of patients or parents stated that they carry the card with them, while 39% (n = 30) of them have used it on 57 occasions. The majority (83%; n = 25) of these declared that, when presented, the card increased awareness among medical staff and on 53% (n = 16) occasions prompted contact with the tertiary centre.
Conclusion: The HAEC medical card was found useful by most parents of HD patients. This tool increased awareness of HAEC and improved communication between peripheral hospitals and tertiary paediatric institutions. Therefore, we feel the HAEC alert card may be used in institutions with high HD addressability.