Background & aims: Persistent abdominal pain occurs in many patients after cholecystectomy, some of whom are described as having sphincter of Oddi dysfunction (SOD). Pain in SOD type III is thought to be of biliary origin with little objective data, and treatment is often unsatisfactory. Chronic abdominal pain without a biological disease marker is similar to irritable bowel syndrome, in which many patients exhibit visceral hyperalgesia. This study tested the hypothesis that duodenal-specific visceral afferent sensitivity exists in patients with SOD type III.
Methods: Eleven patients with chronic abdominal pain after cholecystectomy and 10 controls underwent duodenal and rectal barostat studies to evaluate visceral pain perception measured with a visual analog scale. All subjects underwent psychological testing.
Results: Patients with SOD type III exhibited duodenal but not rectal hyperalgesia compared with controls. There were no differences in duodenal compliance between the groups. Duodenal distention reproduced symptoms in all but 1 patient. Patients showed high levels of somatization, depression, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and anxiety.
Conclusions: Patients with SOD type III exhibited duodenal-specific visceral hyperalgesia, and duodenal distention reproduced symptoms in all but 1 patient. Abdominal pain in these patients may not originate exclusively from the biliary tree.