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Gut. 1999 May;44(5):687-92.

Perception of and adaptation to rectal isobaric distension in patients with faecal incontinence.

Author information

  • 1Gastroenterology and Clinical Pharmacology Units, Hôpital Pontchaillou, 35033 Rennes Cedex, France.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Perception of, and adaptation of the rectum to, distension probably play an important role in the maintenance of continence, but perception studies in faecal incontinence provide controversial conclusions possibly related to methodological biases. In order to better understand perception disorders, the aim of this study was to analyse anorectal adaptation to rectal isobaric distension in subjects with incontinence.

PATIENTS/METHODS:

Between June 95 and December 97, 97 consecutive patients (nine men and 88 women, mean (SEM) age 55 (1) years) suffering from incontinence were evaluated and compared with 15 healthy volunteers (four men and 11 women, mean age 48 (3) years). The patients were classified into three groups according to their perception status to rectal isobaric distensions (impaired, 22; normal, 61; enhanced, 14). Anal and rectal adaptations to increasing rectal pressure were analysed using a model of rectal isobaric distension.

RESULTS:

The four groups did not differ with respect to age, parity, or sex ratio. Magnitude of incontinence, prevalence of pelvic disorders, and sphincter defects were similar in the incontinent groups. When compared with healthy controls, anal pressure and rectal adaptation to distension were decreased in incontinent patients. When compared with incontinent patients with normal perception, patients with enhanced perception experienced similar rectal adaptation but had reduced anal pressure. In contrast, patients with impaired perception showed considerably decreased rectal adaptation but had similar anal pressure.

CONCLUSION:

Abnormal sensations during rectal distension are observed in one third of subjects suffering from incontinence. These abnormalities may reflect hyperreactivity or neuropathological damage of the rectal wall.

PMID:
10205206
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1727504
Free PMC Article
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