Gut 53:1549-1552 doi:10.1136/gut.2004.043968
  • Leading article

Advances in our understanding of the pathology of chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction

  1. R De Giorgio1,
  2. G Sarnelli2,
  3. R Corinaldesi1,
  4. V Stanghellini1
  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
  2. 2Gastroenterology Unit, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University “Federico II”, Naples, Italy
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr R De Giorgio
    Department of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, St Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, Via Massarenti, 9, I-40138 Bologna, Italy;
  • Received 24 June 2004
  • Accepted 1 July 2004


Chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction (CIP) represents a particularly difficult clinical challenge. It is a rare and highly morbid syndrome characterised by impaired gastrointestinal propulsion together with symptoms and signs of bowel obstruction in the absence of any lesions occluding the gut lumen. CIP can be classified as either “secondary” to a wide array of recognised pathological conditions or “idiopathic” (CIIP). This review will focus on CIIP, and specifically on the underlying pathological abnormalities. Combined clinical and histopathological studies are needed to highlight new perspectives in the understanding and management of chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction.