Proximal faecal stasis may occur when faecal matter accumulates in the uninflamed colon above an area of active ulcerative colitis. This phenomenon is thought to be the cause of symptoms in some patients with distal disease. It is not known, however, how often patients with active distal colitis exhibit slow colonic transit. Fifty two consecutive patients with active ulcerative colitis each ingested 10 radio-opaque markers nightly for 14 days. Minimum colonic transit times were derived from counts of retained markers shown by plain abdominal radiography on the 15th day. The transit times for each patient were related to their disease extent and bowel frequency. Four patients had colonic transit times greater than one week and two others had evidence of relative stasis. The results indicate that approximately 10% of attacks of distal colitis are associated with faecal stasis.
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