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Spinal Cord. 2000 May;38(5):301-8.

Clinical evaluation and management of neurogenic bowel after spinal cord injury.

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Hospital del Trabajador de Santiago, AsociaciĆ³n Chilena de Seguridad, Chile.



To assess the state of the neurological bowel in spinal cord injured (SCI) patients, design and apply a program for the comprehensive management of neurogenic bowel and evaluate outcome.


Out-patient in a Rehabilitation Service.


Thirty-eight SCI patients, 12 (32%) with complete lesions of more than 5 years duration.


Observational, longitudinal and prospective. Pre and post intervention.


Pre and post SCI intestinal function was evaluated clinically prior to beginning program. The presence of GI symptoms were studied. Laboratory work-up included colonic transit time (CTT), anorectal manometry and recto-colonoscopy. An intestinal program was designed, in order to achieve an effective and efficient evacuation in a predictable and socially acceptable time, to avoid short and long term complications and eliminate inadequate intestinal evacuation habits.


Pre and post SCI difficulty in intestinal evacuation (DIE) was increased (from 2.6% to 26.3%). The most frequent GI symptom was abdominal distention (53%). Colonic inertia was present in 49% of CTT, internal anal sphincter pressure was normal or increased in 77% and rectoanal inhibitory reflex was present in 88%. With the intestinal program, the incidence of DIE was reduced to 8.8%, manual extraction (ME) was reduced from 53% to 37%. Excellent and good results were obtained in 56% of the patients.


The proposed intestinal program is effective in the rehabilitation of SCI patients with neurogenic bowel. It is essential to initiate these physiological and safe procedures as soon as possible after sustaining the injury; this will lead to better results and to the elimination of inadequate intestinal maneuvering in the future Spinal Cord (2000) 38, 301 - 308.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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