Background: Slow transit constipation may be part of a more generalized gastrointestinal motility disorder.
Methods: Gastric motor and sensory function were evaluated using a barostat in 17 patients with slow transit constipation and in 16 healthy controls. A step-wise isobaric distension procedure was performed, followed by a barostat procedure including a liquid meal. Symptoms were scored using visual analog scales. Plasma levels of gastrointestinal hormones were determined postprandially.
Results: Proximal gastric compliance was significantly reduced in the patients. Basal gastric volume did not differ between patients and controls. Postprandial fundus relaxation was significantly reduced in the patients and correlated significantly with daily upper gastrointestinal symptoms. Postprandial secretion of cholecystokinin and gastrin was reduced in the patients.
Conclusions: In patients with slow transit constipation, proximal gastric compliance is reduced and postprandial fundus relaxation is impaired. These findings support the hypothesis that slow transit constipation may be part of a pan-enteric disorder.