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J Pediatr Surg. 2004 Mar;39(3):352-9; discussion 352-9.

A pilot study using total colonic manometry in the surgical evaluation of pediatric functional colonic obstruction.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Madigan Army Medical Center, Fort Lewis, WA, USA.



Total colonic manometry (TCM) can directly measure intraluminal pressures and contractile function of the entire colon. The utility of TCM to guide the surgical management of functional colonic obstruction has not been reported.


Total colonic manometry was performed on all patients referred for surgical evaluation of refractory functional colonic obstruction. Manometric tracings were obtained while fasting, after feeding, and after pharmacologic stimulation.


Nine patients were referred for refractory colonic obstruction. The mean age was 4.8 years, and the mean duration of follow-up was 29 months. Two patients had functional obstruction after repair of Hirschsprung's disease, and 7 patients had idiopathic functional obstruction. In the idiopathic group, 4 distinct motility patterns were identified: (1) normal colonic motility, (2) dysmotility with massive distension, (3) persistent segmental dysmotility, and (4) global neuropathy/myopathy. Both Hirschsprung's patients showed globally abnormal motility. Surgical management was guided by TCM results. There was significant improvement in bowel function and weight gain after manometry-guided intervention. An unnecessary laparotomy was avoided in 2 patients.


TCM can be valuable in deciding the need for and timing of diversion, the extent of resection required, and the suitability of the patient for restoring bowel continuity in refractory functional obstruction.

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