High ambient temperature and risk of intestinal obstruction in cystic fibrosis

J Paediatr Child Health. 2016 Apr;52(4):430-5. doi: 10.1111/jpc.13096.


Aims: Distal intestinal obstruction syndrome (DIOS) and constipation in cystic fibrosis (CF) are conditions associated with impaction and/or obstruction by abnormally viscid mucofaecal material within the intestinal lumen. Dehydration has been proposed as a risk factor for DIOS and constipation in CF. The study primarily aimed to determine whether warmer ambient temperature and lower rainfall are risk factors for DIOS and constipation in CF.

Methods: Hospitalisations for DIOS (incomplete or complete) and/or constipation were retrospectively identified (2000-2012). Genotype, phenotype, temperatures and rainfall data (for the week preceding and season of hospitalisation) were collected.

Results: Twenty-seven DIOS (59.3% incomplete; 40.7% complete) and 44 constipation admissions were identified. All admitted patients were pancreatic insufficient. Meconium ileus was significantly more likely in DIOS than constipation (64.7% vs. 33.3%; P = 0.038) and in complete than incomplete DIOS (100% vs. 57.1%; P = 0.04). The maximum temperature of the week before DIOS admission (mean (standard deviation) = 28.0 (5.8) °C) was significantly higher than the maximum temperature of the season of admission (25.2 (3.4) °C; P = 0.002). Similarly, the maximum temperature of the week before hospitalisation for constipation (mean (standard deviation) = 27.9 (6.3) °C) was significantly warmer compared with the season of admission (24.0 (4.1) °C; P < 0.0001). There were no significant differences between levels of rainfall during the week before hospitalisation and the season of admission for both DIOS and constipation.

Conclusions: Relatively high ambient temperature may play a role in the pathogenesis of DIOS and constipation in CF.

Keywords: child; constipation; cystic fibrosis; dehydration; intestinal obstruction; temperature.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / diagnosis
  • Dehydration / complications*
  • Dehydration / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Hot Temperature / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intestinal Obstruction / epidemiology*
  • Intestinal Obstruction / etiology
  • Male
  • Queensland
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Seasons
  • Syndrome