Rome III functional dyspepsia subdivision in PDS and EPS: recognizing postprandial symptoms reduces overlap.

Research paper by F F Carbone, L L Holvoet, J J Tack

Indexed on: 30 Jul '15Published on: 30 Jul '15Published in: Neurogastroenterology & Motility


The Rome III consensus proposed to subdivide functional dyspepsia (FD) into two groups: meal-related dyspepsia or postprandial distress syndrome (PDS), and meal-unrelated dyspepsia or epigastric pain syndrome (EPS). However, in clinical practice, overlap between both has been reported to be as high as 50%, thereby hampering clinical applicability. Although EPS is referred to as meal-unrelated dyspepsia, relationship of symptoms to meal ingestion in this category is not formally addressed in the Rome III criteria. The aim of our study was to investigate whether taking into account the relationship of epigastric pain and nausea to meal ingestion may help to improve separation between EPS and PDS.Consecutive ambulatory tertiary-care patients with epigastric symptoms filled out Rome III gastro-duodenal questionnaires with supplementary questions. Those fulfilling Rome III FD criteria and a negative endoscopy were identified and subdivided into 'pure' PDS patients (i.e., meeting criteria for PDS without EPS symptoms), 'pure' EPS (i.e., meeting criteria for EPS without PDS symptoms), and overlapping PDS-EPS (i.e., symptoms of both PDS and EPS).Out of 1029 patients coming to endoscopy, 199 patients (73% females, 45.9 ± 1.0 years, BMI: 23.7 ± 0.35) fulfilled Rome III FD diagnostic criteria, and could be subdivided into pure PDS (69% females, 49 ± 2 years, BMI: 24.2 ± 0.61), pure EPS (59% females, 47.4 ± 2 years, BMI: 23.2 ± 0.97) and overlapping PDS-EPS (64% females, age 43 ± 5 years, BMI: 26 ± 0.46). Compared with pure EPS patients, the overlap PDS-EPS patients were characterized by a higher occurrence of postprandial epigastric pain (70% vs 31%, p < 0.0001), while the occurrence of epigastric pain in between meals was borderline (48% vs 38%, p = 0.05). In addition, the overlap PDS-EPS patients reported a higher occurrence of postprandial nausea (23% vs 0%, p < 0.0001), and bloating (79% vs 28%, p = 0.0001). When postprandial epigastric pain and postprandial nausea were considered as PDS symptoms, the 'adapted' subdivision identified 48% pure PDS, 16% pure EPS, and 36% overlapping PDS-EPS patients.EPS and PDS symptoms frequently coexist in FD patients, with postprandial symptoms substantially contributing to the overlap. A more rigorous linking of postprandially occurring symptoms to PDS, regardless of their qualitative nature, may improve the separation between PDS and EPS.