Assessment of gastric sensorimotor function in paediatric patients with unexplained dyspeptic symptoms and poor weight gain.

Research paper by I I Hoffman, R R Vos, J J Tack

Indexed on: 16 Feb '07Published on: 16 Feb '07Published in: Neurogastroenterology & Motility


Recent studies indicate that impaired meal accommodation or hypersensitivity to distention are highly prevalent in adult functional dyspepsia (FD). Our aim was to investigate whether similar abnormalities also occur in paediatric FD. Sixteen FD patients (15 girls, 10-16 years) were studied. The severity (0-3; 0, absent; 3, severe) of eight dyspeptic symptoms (epigastric pain, fullness, bloating, early satiety, nausea, vomiting, belching and epigastric burning) and the amount of weight loss were determined by questionnaire. All children underwent a gastric barostat study after an overnight fast to determine sensitivity to distention and meal-induced accommodation, which were compared with normal values in young adults (18-22 years). On a separate day, all patients underwent a gastric emptying breath test. A mean weight loss of 4.8 +/- 0.9 kg was present in 14 children. Compared with controls, patients had lower discomfort thresholds to gastric distention (8.8 +/- 1.0 mmHg vs 13.9 +/- 1.9 mmHg, P < 0.02) and gastric accommodation (87 +/- 25 mL vs 154 +/- 20 mL P < 0.04). Hypersensitivity to distention and impaired accommodation were present in respectively nine (56%) and 11 (69%) patients. No relationship was found between barostat and gastric emptying, which was delayed in only three patients. The majority of children with unexplained epigastric symptoms have abnormalities of gastric sensorimotor function.