Pressure changes were evaluated in the transverse, descending, and rectosigmoid colon of 30 children with chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction. Twenty two had severe lifelong constipation and eight had symptoms suggesting a motility disorder exclusively of the upper gastrointestinal tract. Based on prior antroduodenal manometry, 24 children were diagnosed as having a neuropathic and six a myopathic form of intestinal pseudo-obstruction. On the day of study, endoscopy was used to place a manometry catheter into the transverse colon and intraluminal pressure was recorded for more than four hours. After a baseline recording, we gave a meal to assess the gastrocolonic response. Colonic contractions were noted in 24 children. The six children with no colonic contractions had a hollow visceral myopathy and constipation. In the children with colonic contractions, fasting motility did not differentiate children with and without constipation. After the meal, in all eight children without constipation there was (1) an increase in motility index (3.2 (SEM 0.3) mm Hg/min basal v 8.4 (SEM 1.1) mm Hg/min postprandial; p < 0.001), and (2) at least one high amplitude propagated contraction (HAPC). In the 16 constipated children with colonic contractions the motility index did not significantly increase after the meal (2.1 (SEM 0.3) mm Hg/min basal v 3.1 (SEM 0.4) mm Hg/min postprandial) and 12 of them had no HAPCs (p < 0.01 v group without constipation). In summary, in children with a clinical diagnosis of chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction, constipation is associated with absence of HAPCs, and the gastrocolonic response or with total absence of colonic contractions. It is concluded that studies of colonic manometry are feasible in children and may document discrete abnormalities in those with intestinal pseudo-obstruction with colonic involvement.
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