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Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2006 Mar;18(3):206-10.

Distension technique influences the relationship between colonic and rectal hypersensitivity in irritable bowel syndrome.

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1
Gastrointestinal Investigation Unit, Department of Gastroenterology, Royal North Shore Hospital, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Abstract

In irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it remains unclear whether rectal hypersensitivity is a 'marker' of colonic hypersensitivity. Our aim was to examine the relation between colonic and rectal sensitivity in IBS patients, comprising phasic and ramp distension techniques. Twenty IBS patients and 12 healthy subjects (N) underwent stepwise ramp and random phasic barostat distensions in the colon and rectum in random order. The sensory threshold pressure (ramp distension) and the visual analogue scale score (VAS, phasic distension), for pain and non-pain, were recorded. Colonic thresholds were lower, and VAS scores were generally higher, for pain and non-pain sensitivities in IBS compared to N. Rectal thresholds were lower, and VAS scores were higher, for pain but not for non-pain, in IBS compared to N. In IBS, for phasic distension, there was good correlation between the colon and rectum for non-pain (e.g. at 16 mmHg, r=0.59, P=0.006) and pain (r=0.60, P=0.006) sensitivities. In contrast, there was no significant correlation between the colon and rectum for ramp distension. In conclusion, colonic and rectal sensitivity in IBS are correlated in response to phasic but not ramp barostat distensions. The rectum serves as a legitimate 'window' for evaluating colonic hypersensitivity in IBS, provided that phasic distensions are employed.

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