Analysis of Postprandial Symptom Patterns in Subgroups of Patients With Rome III or Rome IV Functional Dyspepsia

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020 Apr;18(4):838-846.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2019.07.053. Epub 2019 Aug 5.


Background & aims: Among patients with functional dyspepsia (FD), there is overlap in symptoms between those in the Rome III subgroups of postprandial distress syndrome (PDS) and those with epigastric pain syndrome (EPS). The Rome IV consensus proposed to incorporate all patients with postprandial symptoms into the PDS group. We aimed to evaluate the assessment of meal-related dyspepsia symptoms in patients with FD according to the Rome III vs Rome IV subdivisions.

Methods: Consecutive patients with FD referred for a gastric emptying test (n = 96) were asked to fill out the Rome III gastroduodenal questionnaire, with questions on meal-related occurrence. Study participants underwent a gastric emptying breath test, during which the intensity of dyspeptic symptoms (fullness, bloating, belching, nausea, epigastric pain, and burning) was scored before and up to 4 hours after a meal. We analyzed the association between the Rome subdivision and symptom severity and pattern during the breath test.

Results: According to Rome III, 10% had EPS alone, 29% PDS alone, and 61% overlapping EPS and PDS. The frequency of the symptoms reported in the Rome questionnaire associated with the intensity of the symptoms during the breath test in the PDS group and in the groups with PDS and EPS overlap, but not in the group with EPS. We adapted the definition of the PDS subgroup to include patients with meal-related non-PDS symptoms (Rome IV); this reduced the proportion of patients with overlap of EPS and PDS symptoms from 61% to 18% and in this group the association of symptoms with the meal was reduced.

Conclusions: In an analysis of patients with FD, a meal induced or exacerbated symptoms in most patients. The Rome IV criteria for PDS reduce the proportions categorized as having both PDS and EPS and identify a patient group whose symptoms are associated with the meals. University hospital of Leuven study no: S55426.

Keywords: Diagnosis; Diagnostic; Food; Rome Classification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / diagnosis
  • Dyspepsia* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Nausea
  • Postprandial Period
  • Rome