Background: Although it is known that colon motility is abnormal in ulcerative colitis, data are still scarce with regard to the underlying mechanisms. Recent evidence suggests that the propulsive activity is highly increased during the active phase of the disease, probably contributing to the diarrhoea. However, data are even scarcer in the quiescent phase of the disease.
Aims: To assess the colonic high-amplitude and low-amplitude propulsive activity and the colonic motor response to eating in patients with ulcerative colitis in remission.
Patients and methods: Fourteen patients were recruited, all with the disease in remission as documented by clinical and endoscopic criteria. Twenty-four hour manometric recordings were obtained in these patients, and compared to those of 16 healthy controls.
Results: The high-amplitude propagated contractions were similar in both groups (5.8+/-2.6 events in ulcerative colitis patients and 5.5+/-0.8 in controls (P=0.13)), whereas patients tended to display a higher number of low-amplitude propagated events (134.4+/-34 vs. 60.9+/-16 in controls (P=0.058)). No differences were found in the colonic motor response to eating between patients and controls.
Conclusions: Colonic propulsive activity in ulcerative colitis in remission is almost normal, even though the low-amplitude propagated activity tends to be similar to that observed in patients with the irritable bowel syndrome, thus possibly contributing to the persistence of abdominal symptoms in a subgroup of patients.