Background: Our study evaluated progression of and identified potential factors contributing to outcomes of ROME III defined-functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) in children treated symptomatically in a biopsychosocial model of care with a long-term follow-up.
Methods: We performed a retrospective review of pediatric patients who were diagnosed with ROME III defined-FGIDs including functional abdominal pain, functional dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome and abdominal migraine. Patients were managed symptomatically in a biopsychosocial model of care from the time of initial diagnosis. Demographics, management, progression and response to treatment assessed as complete, partial, and no improvement were reviewed.
Results: Two hundred fifty-eight patients were included with mean age of 10.6 years, female 55.4%, mean number of encounters 3.3 visits, and mean follow-up was 18.7 months (range 2 - 59, SD 15.8). Diagnoses were functional abdominal pain 45%, irritable bowel syndrome 20.9%, multiple 13.2%, functional dyspepsia 12.8%, and abdominal migraine 8.1%. Investigations were performed in most patients: laboratory studies in 93.4% (non-contributory abnormal 23.6%), imaging studies in 45.3% (non-contributory abnormal 5%) and endoscopies in 43.0% (non-contributory abnormal 1.2%). Treatment included medication in 93.7%, and surgery in 1.9% (normal pathology). There were new functional gastrointestinal diagnosis in 11.6%, evolution of FGIDs, from one to another in 12.0%, and recurrence found in 35.7% of patients. There were 60.1% patients in the complete improvement group (CIG) and 39.1% in the partial/no improvement group (PIG/NIG). No statistical difference was found between CIG and PIG/NIG regarding demographics or evaluation. PIG/NIG had more encounters (mean 3.63 vs. 3.11; P = 0.03), had non-contributory lab abnormalities (34.4% vs. 20.0%; P = 0.01), needed more endoscopies (52.4% vs. 36.8%; P = 0.02), required more treatment changes (mean 1.41 vs. 0.81; P < 0.01) and developed new functional gastrointestinal diagnoses (19.4% vs. 6.5%; P < 0.01) with long-term follow-up.
Conclusions: Patients with ROME III defined-FGIDs who experience partial or no improvement with treatment develop new FGID diagnosis, need more number of follow-up visits, require more number of endoscopies, need more treatment changes, and have more non-contributory laboratory abnormalities, compared to those who experience complete improvement. Symptomatic treatment offered in a biopsychosocial model of care is possibly beneficial in managing children with FGIDs.
Keywords: Biopsychosocial model; Functional gastrointestinal disorders; Long-term follow-up; ROME criteria.