Background: Although some symptoms of Crohn's disease may be related to gastrointestinal motility disorders, studies on gastrointestinal motility in inactive Crohn's disease are lacking.
Methods: Fasting and postprandial motor activity (1 h) was recorded in the gastric antrum and upper small intestine of 35 patients with inactive Crohn's disease and 18 controls, using conventional manometry.
Results: Motor disorders were observed in 26 of 35 patients. The number of phase-II contractions was reduced (1.3 +/- 0.7/min versus 1.8 +/- 0.6/min in controls; P < 0.02) (mean +/- standard deviation), whereas the incidence of propagated single (2.2 +/- 3.2/h versus 0.5 +/- 0.6/h; P < 0.03) and clustered contractions (3.8 +/- 7/h versus 1.1 +/- 1.4, P < 0.04) was markedly increased. Motor abnormalities were more frequent and severe in patients with Crohn's ileitis than in controls, and in patients with gastrointestinal symptoms than in asymptomatic patients.
Conclusion: Most patients with inactive, uncomplicated Crohn's disease show marked gastrointestinal motor disorders, characterized either by reduced incidence of small-bowel contractions and increased incidence of single or clustered propagated contractions.