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Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2012 May;24(5):420-5, e207. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2011.01871.x. Epub 2012 Jan 25.

Delayed gastric emptying rates and impaired antral motility in children fulfilling Rome III criteria for functional abdominal pain.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, Ragama, Sri Lanka.



Gastric sensorymotor dysfunctions have been implicated in the pathophysiology of some functional gastrointestinal disorders, such as functional dyspepsia and irritable bowel syndrome. Therefore, we hypothesized that abnormal gastric emptying and impaired antral motility are possible underlying mechanisms of symptoms in children with functional abdominal pain (FAP).


Hundred and two children [37 (36.3%) males, 4-14 years, mean 7.8 years, SD 2.7 years] fulfilling Rome III criteria for FAP were recruited for this study. An age and sex compatible group of healthy children (n = 20) were selected as controls [8 (40%) males, 4-14 years, mean 8.4 years, SD 3.0 years]. Liquid gastric emptying rate (GER) and antral motility parameters (amplitude of antral contractions, frequency of antral contractions and antral motility index) were assessed using a previously reported ultrasound method.


Average GER (42.1% vs 66.2% in controls), amplitude of antral contractions (56.5% vs 89%), frequency of contractions per 3 min (8.5 vs 9.3), and antral motility index (4.9 vs 8.3) were significantly lower in patients with FAP compared with controls (P < 0.01). Fasting antral area was higher in patients (1.4 vs 0.6, P < 0.0001). GER negatively correlated with the scores obtained for severity of abdominal pain (r = -0.29, P = 0.004).


Gastric emptying rate and antral motility parameters were significantly impaired in patients with FAP and GER negatively correlated with symptom severity. These findings highlight the possible role of gastrointestinal motility abnormalities in the pathophysiology of childhood FAP.

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