Diagnostic Tests in Pediatric Constipation

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Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal symptoms in children. With a median reported prevalence of 12%, it accounts for about 25% of all pediatric gastroenterology consultations. The majority of children experiences functional constipation and do not usually require any diagnostic testing. For those children not responding to conventional medical treatment or in the presence of a more significant clinical picture, however, an accurate instrumental assessment is usually recommended to evaluate either the underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms or a possible organic etiology. The present review analyzes the possible diagnostic investigations for severely constipated children, focusing on their actual indications and their utility in clinical practice. During the last decade, there has been a remarkable increase in our knowledge of normal and abnormal colonic and anorectal motility in children, and a number of different techniques to measure transit and motility have been developed and are discussed in this narrative review.

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