Segmental colonic dilation is associated with premature termination of high-amplitude propagating contractions in children with intractable functional constipation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Neurogastroenterology and Motility








children; colon; constipation; contrast enema; dilation; elongation; manometry


© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Background: Colonic dilation is common in children with intractable functional constipation (FC). Our aim was to describe the association between segmental colonic dilation and colonic dysmotility in children with FC. Methods: We performed a retrospective study on 30 children with intractable FC (according to the Rome III criteria) who had undergone colonic manometry and contrast enema within a 12-month time period. Colonic diameter was measured at 5 cm intervals from the anal verge up to the splenic flexure. Moreover, the distance between the lateral margins of the pedicles of vertebra L2 was measured to provide a ratio (colonic diameter or length/distance between the lateral margins; “standardized colon size” [SCS]). All manometry recordings were visually inspected for the presence of high-amplitude propagating contractions (HAPCs); a parameter for colonic motility integrity. The intracolonic location of the manometry catheter sensors was assessed using an abdominal X-ray. Key Results: Colonic segments with HAPCs had a significantly smaller median diameter than colonic segments without HAPCs (4.08 cm vs 5.48 cm, P<.001; SCS 1.14 vs 1.66, P=.001). Children with prematurely terminating HAPCs had significantly larger SCS ratios for colonic diameter than children with fully propagating HAPCs (P=.008). SCS ratios for the length of the rectosigmoid and the descending colon and the SCS ratio for sigmoid colon diameter were significantly larger in children with FC compared to a previously described normative population (P<.0001, P<.0001 and P=.0007 respectively). Conclusions & Inferences: Segmental colonic dilation was associated with prematurely terminating HAPCs and may be a useful indicator of colonic dysmotility.

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