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J Pediatr Surg. 2008 Feb;43(2):320-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2007.10.020.

Quality of life in children with slow transit constipation.

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  • 1Department of Surgical Research, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria 3052, Australia.



Slow transit constipation (STC) causes intractable symptoms not readily responsive to laxatives, diet, or life-style changes. Children with STC have irregular bowel motions associated with colicky abdominal pain and frequent uncontrollable soiling. This study assessed the physical and psychosocial quality of life (QOL) in children with long-standing (> or =2 years) STC vs healthy controls.


Children (aged 8-18) were recruited from gastrointestinal and surgical clinics and a Scout Jamboree. After informed consent was obtained, the questionnaire (Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory) was administered. This consists of parallel child and parent self-report scales encompassing physical functioning, emotional functioning, social functioning, and school functioning. Higher scores indicate better QOL. P value less than .05 was considered statistically significant.


In 51 children with STC (mean, 11.5 years; male/female, 2:1) and 79 controls (mean, 12.1 years; male/female, 1.9:1), Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory QOL score was significantly lower in the STC group (72.90 vs 85.99; P < .0001). In addition, parents of children with STC reported a significantly lower QOL score than their child compared with the child's own report (64.43 vs 72.90; P = .0034). Parents of controls did not (84.25 vs 85.99; P = .12).


Slow transit constipation is a debilitating condition affecting both physical and emotional functioning in children. Parental perception of QOL is significantly worse, highlighting the considerable family impact of constipation and uncontrollable soiling.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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