- Ultrasound results can predict how patients with chronic constipation will respond to various medical therapies.
Why this matters
- Choosing the best individualized medical treatment for constipation typically involves trial and error, sometimes resulting in adverse effects such as abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, and ischemic colitis.
- Researchers studied patients with chronic constipation (n=223; 148 women; mean age, 62.9±3.4 years), using ultrasound to measure transverse diameters of 4 colon segments and the rectum, and evaluating stool and gas distribution based on the constipation index (CI) and left/right distribution (L/R) ratio.
- They then treated patients with fiber- or osmosis-based laxatives for 2 weeks, adding stimulant-based laxatives if the first treatment was ineffective.
- Funding: Kawasaki Medical School General Medical Center.
- Patients who did not respond to fiber- or osmosis-based laxatives had significantly higher CI than those who did (P<.05 ci cutoff for predicting favorable outcomes>
- Patients who did not respond to stimulant-based laxatives had significantly lower L/R ratio than those who did (P<.05 l cutoff for predicting responders>
- The study was not double-blinded, patients did not maintain symptom diaries, and the treatment period was only 4 weeks.