Children with chronic intractable constipation experience severe and long-lasting symptoms, which respond poorly to conventional therapeutic strategies. Detailed characterization of colonic motor patterns in such children has not yet been obtained.Methods
In 18 children with chronic intractable constipation, a high-resolution water-perfused manometry catheter (36 sensors at 1.5-cm intervals) was colonoscopically placed with the tip at the distal transverse colon. Colonic motor patterns were recorded for 2 h prior to and after a meal and then after colonic infusion of bisacodyl. These data were compared with previously published colonic manometry data from 12 healthy adult controls and 14 adults with slow-transit constipation.Key Results
The postprandial number of the retrograde cyclic propagating motor pattern was significantly reduced in these children compared with healthy adults (children, 3.1 ± 4.7/h vs healthy adults, 34.7 ± 45.8/h; p < 0.0001) but not constipated adults (4.5 ± 5.6/h; p = 0.9). The number of preprandial long-single motor patterns was significantly higher (p = 0.003) in children (8.0 ± 13.2/h) than in healthy adults (0.4 ± 0.9/h) and in constipated adults (0.4 ± 0.7/h). Postprandial high-amplitude propagating sequences (HAPSs) were rarely observed in children (2/18), but HAPS could be induced by bisacodyl in 16 of 18 children.Conclusions & Inferences
Children with chronic intractable constipation show a similar impaired postprandial colonic response to that seen in adults with slow-transit constipation. Children may have attenuated extrinsic parasympathetic inputs to the colon associated with an increased incidence of spontaneous long-single motor patterns.
Utilizing high-resolution colonic manometry, in children with chronic intractable constipation, we have quantified the motor patterns prior to and after a meal. These data in children display similarities to adults with slow-transit constipation, and like the constipated adults, we propose that in these children a possible neuropathy in the extrinsic parasympathetic inputs to the colon may exist.