Mechanisms of intestinal gas retention in humans: impaired propulsion versus obstructed evacuation

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2001 Jul;281(1):G138-43. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.2001.281.1.G138.

Abstract

To explore the clinical role of intestinal gas dynamics, we investigated two potential mechanisms of gas retention, defective propulsion and obstructed evacuation. In healthy subjects, a gas mixture was continuously infused into the jejunum (4 ml/min) 1) during a 2-h control period of spontaneous gas evacuation and 2) during a 2-h test period either with impaired gut propulsion caused by intravenous glucagon (n = 6) or with obstructed (self-restrained) anal evacuation (n = 10) while anal gas evacuation, symptom perception (0-6 scale), and abdominal girth were measured. Impaired gut propulsion and obstructed evacuation produced similar gas retention (558 +/- 68 ml and 407 +/- 85 ml, respectively, vs. 96 +/- 58 ml control; P < 0.05 for both) and abdominal distension (8 +/- 3 mm and 6 +/- 3 mm, respectively, vs. 1 +/- 1 mm control; P < 0.05 for both). However, obstructed evacuation increased symptom perception (2.3 +/- 0.6 score change; P < 0.05), whereas gas retention in the glucagon-induced hypotonic gut was virtually unperceived (-0.4 +/- 0.7 score change; not significant). In conclusion, the perception of intestinal gas accumulation depends on the mechanism of retention.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anal Canal / physiology
  • Defecation / physiology
  • Female
  • Gases / pharmacokinetics*
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / administration & dosage
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / physiology*
  • Glucagon / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Intestines / physiology*
  • Male

Substances

  • Gases
  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Glucagon