Psychological distress in Rome III functional dyspepsia patients presenting for testing of gastric emptying

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Abstract

Background

There have been conflicting results from studies that have evaluated psychological disturbances in functional dyspepsia (FD). We conducted a comprehensive survey of psychological measures in patients undergoing gastric emptying testing (GET) in order to determine the relationship among psychological distress, gastric emptying, and dyspeptic symptoms.

Methods

Consecutive patients referred for GET were prospectively enrolled. Details regarding patient characteristics, health care utilization, dyspeptic symptoms, quality of life, and psychological dysfunction were obtained. Depression, anxiety, somatization, stress, positive and negative affect, and alexithymia were queried using validated questionnaires. We compared those dyspeptic patients who met Rome III criteria for FD to those who did not meet these criteria.

Key Results

Two hundred and nine patients (160 female; mean age 46.6 years ± 17.3 years) participated. Around 151 patients (72%) met Rome III criteria for FD. In the entire group, a high level of depression, anxiety, somatization, and perceived stress was present compared to population norms. Health care seeking behavior and symptom severity were greater in those with FD and quality of life was lower compared to non-FD. Gastric emptying did not differentiate the two groups and similar degrees of psychological distress were present whether emptying was delayed or normal.

Conclusions & Inferences

In patients referred for GET, substantial psychological distress is present. The degree of distress was similar regardless of whether the patient met Rome III FD criteria or not. Further evaluation of psychological dysfunction in FD patients may lead to improved diagnosis and determination of the most appropriate treatment.

Patients referred for GET report substantial psychological distress. The degree of distress was similar regardless of whether the patient met Rome III FD criteria or not. Health care seeking behavior and symptom severity were greater in those with FD while quality of life was lower. Gastric emptying did not differentiate the two groups. An awareness of psychosocial factors in FD and further evaluation of psychological dysfunction in FD patients may lead to improved diagnosis and determination of the most appropriate treatment.

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