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J Chin Med Assoc. 2012 Mar;75(3):127-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jcma.2012.02.004. Epub 2012 Mar 9.

Efficacy of spinal magnetic stimulation in elderly persons with chronic constipation.

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Department of Radiology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.



The development of primary constipation in elderly adults usually has a multifactorial etiology. Slow transit constipation and pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) are the two most commonly seen constipation subtypes in the elderly. PFD is usually a persistent condition that remains unresponsive to treatment in spite of various therapies currently available to relieve constipation. The aim of this study was to assess the usefulness of spinal magnetic stimulation (SMS) in controlling intractable constipation in elderly patients.


Nineteen patients over the age of 65 with intractable constipation were enrolled in this study, and participated in a 12-session magnetic conditioning protocol consisting of a 20-minute stimulation session once daily. Colonic transit time (CTT) and the dynamics of evaluation as revealed in defecography were measured, and the Knowles-Eccersley-Scott Symptom (KESS) Questionnaire was administered before the intervention, and after finishing the protocol.


There was a statistically significant improvement in CTT and defecography following the intervention. The difference in the anorectal angles between resting and evacuation (p = 0.001) and the changes in pelvic floor descent (p = 0.011) both reached significance after the intervention. The mean CTT (p = 0.001), Knowles-Eccersley-Scott Symptom score (p = 0.001), frequency of bowel movement (p = 0.005), unsuccessful evacuation (p = 0.018), and time needed for bowel hygiene (p = 0.032) all showed marked improvement after SMS conditioning.


Our findings reveal that SMS intervention may benefit elderly patients with severe constipation. The amelioration of geriatric bowel dysfunction across the subtypes of slow transit constipation and PFD indicated that SMS, featuring broad-spectrum applications, can be an effective form of adjuvant treatment in the care of elderly adults.

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