Relationship of Gastrointestinal Symptoms and Psychosocial Distress to Gastric Retention in Children

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Abstract

Objectives

To determine whether gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms (abdominal pain, nonpain GI symptoms, nausea) and/or psychosocial distress differ between children with/without gastroparesis and whether the severity of GI symptoms and/or psychosocial distress is related to the degree of gastroparesis.

Study design

Children aged 7-18 years (N = 100; 63 female patients) undergoing a 4-hour gastric emptying scintigraphy study completed questionnaires evaluating GI symptoms, anxiety, and somatization for this prospective study. Spearman correlation, Mann-Whitney, t-test, and χ2 tests were used as appropriate for statistical analysis.

Results

Children with gastroparesis (n = 25) were younger than those with normal emptying (12.6 ± 3.5 vs 14.3 ± 2.6 years, P = .01). Because questionnaire responses from 7- to 10-year-old children were inconsistent, only patient-reported symptoms from 11- to 18-year-olds were used. Within this older group (n = 83), children with gastroparesis (n = 17) did not differ from children with normal emptying in severity of GI symptoms or psychosocial distress. In children with gastroparesis, gastric retention at 4 hours was related inversely to vomiting (r = −0.506, P = .038), nausea (r = −0.536, P = .019), difficulty finishing a meal (r = −0.582, P = .014), and Children's Somatization Inventory score (r = −0.544, P = .024) and positively correlated with frequency of waking from sleep with symptoms (r = 0.551, P = .022).

Conclusions

The severity of GI symptoms and psychosocial distress do not differ between children with/without gastroparesis who are undergoing gastric emptying scintigraphy. In those with gastroparesis, gastric retention appears to be inversely related to dyspeptic symptoms and somatization and positively related to waking from sleep with symptoms.

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