Postinfectious Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders in Children: A Multicenter Prospective Study

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To prospectively investigate the occurrence of postinfectious functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs), diagnosed according to the Rome III criteria, in children with acute diarrhea of different infectious etiology.

Study design

This was a prospective cohort multicenter study. Children 4-17 years of age presenting with acute diarrhea who tested positive for an enteric infection were recruited within 1 month from the episode and matched with control subjects of similar age and sex. Symptoms were evaluated with a validated questionnaire for FGIDs at the time of enrollment in the study and after 3 and 6 months.


A total of 64 patients (36 boys; median age 5.3 years; age range 4.1-14.1 years) were recruited, 32 subjects in each arm. Infections included rotavirus (56.8%), salmonella (30%), adenovirus (6.6%), norovirus (3.3%), and Giardia lamblia (3.3%). FGIDs were significantly more common in exposed patients compared with controls within 1 month from acute diarrhea (40.6% vs 12.5% [P = .02, relative risk (RR) = 1.9]), 3 months (53% vs 15.6% [P = .003, RR = 2.2]), and 6 months (46.8% vs 15.6% [P = .01, RR = 1.9]) later. No correlation was found between different etiologies, age, or sex, and any type of FGIDs. Among exposed children, abdominal pain–related FGIDs were significantly more frequent compared with controls after 6 months from infection (P = .04, RR = 1.7).


This prospective cohort multicenter study supports postinfectious FGIDs as a true entity in children. There seems to be a significant increase in abdominal pain–related FGIDs after acute diarrhea in children within 1 month and 3 and 6 months later.

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