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J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2011 Oct;33(7):e300-3. doi: 10.1097/MPH.0b013e31821a0795.

Acute constipation in children receiving chemotherapy for cancer.

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1
Section of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8064, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Constipation occurs in children receiving chemotherapy for cancer but there are no data about prevalence, risk factors, and severity of constipation in this group of children.

METHODS:

We prospectively studied 61 children receiving chemotherapy for cancer. We administered questionnaires to children and parents and collected data on demographics, chemotherapy, and bowel movement pattern during chemotherapy. We used North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition criteria for the diagnosis of constipation. Parental perception of constipation as a problem and impact on lifestyle during chemotherapy were assessed on a 0 to 3 scale with 0 being no problem, 1 minor, 2 significant, and 3 being a major problem.

RESULTS:

Thirty-five children (57%) had acute constipation lasting for 2 or more weeks during chemotherapy. Several risk factors were analyzed and only combined use of vincristine and opiates emerged as significant risk factor for the development of constipation. In children with constipation, 15 of 35 parents (43%) perceived constipation as a major/significant problem and 8 children and their parents (23%) perceived constipation having a major/significant impact on lifestyle during chemotherapy.

CONCLUSIONS:

Acute constipation was diagnosed in 57% of children receiving chemotherapy for cancer. Combined use of vincristine and opiates was associated with the development of constipation. Constipation can be a significant problem with a negative impact on lifestyle during chemotherapy and needs aggressive management.

PMID:
21941132
DOI:
10.1097/MPH.0b013e31821a0795
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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