Defecatory disorders in de novo Parkinsonians--colonic transit and electromyogram of the external anal sphincter

Wien Klin Wochenschr. 1998 Aug 21;110(15):535-7.


Constipation is very common in Parkinson's disease. It is still not known whether constipation is due to a slow transit of the colon or an outlet obstruction. We examined 25 patients (11 women, 14 men, mean age 62 years) with newly diagnosed idiopathic Parkinson's disease. All patients had typical clinical symptoms (with an average score of 11.4 points on the Webster scale); the diagnosis was confirmed by 18F-Dopa-PET. In all patients the colon transit time was measured with radioopaque markers. Pudendal nerve lesions were excluded by neurography of the pudendal nerve. Electromyography of the external anal sphincter was performed with concentric needle electrodes in the right and left lateral position. Colon transit time in the patients averaged 3.7 days, with pathologically prolonged transit (> 4 days) in 6 patients (24%). Four patients (16%) showed mild neurogenic changes on sphincter EMG (16%). In three other cases (12%) long duration and large amplitude of motor unit action potentials (MUAPs), and a reduced interference pattern during maximal voluntary effort indicated a severe neurogenic lesion. One patient presented with involuntary contractions of the external anal sphincter at rest, which increased during strain (anism).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anal Canal / physiopathology
  • Colon / physiopathology
  • Constipation / diagnosis*
  • Constipation / physiopathology
  • Dystonia / diagnosis
  • Dystonia / physiopathology
  • Electromyography*
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / physiology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Transit / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Rectum / physiopathology
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed