Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders Dominate Pediatric Gastroenterology Outpatient Practice

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2016 Jun;62(6):847-51. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000001023.


Objectives: Symptom-based diagnostic criteria have improved recognition and standardization of pediatric functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs). We used Rome 3 diagnostic criteria to determine the prevalence of FGIDs in pediatric gastroenterology clinic. In the process, we developed a diagnostic questionnaire for infants and toddlers.

Methods: We enrolled new patients ≤18 years referred during 19 months to a pediatric gastroenterology clinic. Subjects or parents completed a demographic survey and a the Questionnaire on Pediatric Gastrointestinal symptoms, Rome 3 Version (if ≥4 years, or a new infant-toddler questionnaire) before their appointment.

Results: We acquired data from 976 subjects: 476 boys, 592 white. Of 332 subjects <4 years, 172 (52%) met diagnostic criteria for ≥1 FGIDs. Of 644 subjects ≥4 years, 486 (75%) met diagnostic criteria for ≥1 FGIDs. Thirty one (9%) subjects <4 years and 170 (26%) subjects ≥4 years met the criteria for ≥2 FGIDs. Of the total sample of subjects <4 years, common FGIDs included functional constipation (29%), infant regurgitation (13%), and cyclic vomiting syndrome (10%). Of the total sample of subjects ≥4 years, common FGIDs included irritable bowel syndrome (36%), abdominal migraine (19%), functional constipation (17%), cyclic vomiting syndrome (8%), functional abdominal pain syndrome (7%), aerophagia (7%), and functional dyspepsia (7%).

Conclusions: More than half of new pediatric gastrointestinal clinic patients met the Rome 3 criteria for ≥1 FGIDs. Satisfying the criteria may facilitate diagnosis on the first visit.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Gastroenterology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Outpatients
  • Pediatrics
  • Prevalence
  • Surveys and Questionnaires