Clinical characteristics of chronic idiopathic intestinal pseudo-obstruction in adults

S D Mann, H S Debinski, M A Kamm
Gut 1997, 41 (5): 675-81

BACKGROUND: Chronic idiopathic intestinal pseudo-obstruction, a syndrome of ineffectual motility due to a primary disorder of enteric nerve or muscle, is rare.

AIMS: To determine the clinical spectrum, underlying pathologies, response to treatments, and prognosis in a consecutive unselected group of patients.

METHODS: Cross sectional study of all patients with clinical and radiological features of intestinal obstruction in the absence of organic obstruction, associated with dilated small intestine (with or without dilated large intestine), being actively managed in one tertiary referral centre at one time.

RESULTS: Twenty patients (11 men and nine women, median age 43 years, range 22-67) fulfilled the diagnostic criteria. Median age at onset of symptoms was 17 years (range two weeks to 59 years). Two patients had an autosomally dominant inherited visceral myopathy. Major presenting symptoms were pain (80%), vomiting (75%), constipation (40%), and diarrhoea (20%). Eighteen patients required abdominal surgery, and a further patient had a full thickness rectal biopsy. The mean time interval from symptom onset to first operation was 5.8 years. Histology showed visceral myopathy in 13, visceral neuropathy in three, and was indeterminate in three. In the one other patient small bowel motility studies were suggestive of neuropathy. Two patients died within two years of symptom onset, one from generalised thrombosis and the other from an inflammatory myopathy. Of the remaining 18 patients, eight were nutritionally independent of supplements, two had gastrostomy or jejunostomy feeds, and eight were receiving home parenteral nutrition. Five patients were opiate dependent, only one patient had benefited from prokinetic drug therapy, and five patients required formal psychological intervention and support.

CONCLUSIONS: In a referral setting visceral myopathy is the most common diagnosis in this heterogeneous syndrome, the course of the illness is usually prolonged, and prokinetic drug therapies are not usually helpful. Ongoing management problems include pain relief and nutritional support.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"