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Colonic Diversion for Intractable Constipation in Children: Colonic Manometry Helps Guide Clinical Decisions

Villarreal, Jorge*; Sood, Manu*; Zangen, Tsili*; Flores, Alejandro†; Michel, Reynaldo†; Reddy, Narasimha*; Di Lorenzo, Carlo‡; Hyman, Paul E.*

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition:
Original Articles

Background: Colonic manometry helps discriminate functional and behavioral causes for childhood constipation from colonic neuromuscular disease.

Methods: Of 375 colonic manometries performed for clinical indications, 12 could not be interpreted because of chronic colonic dilation. Based on colonic manometries that showed either no contractions or an absence of the gastrocolonic response or an absence of high-amplitude propagating contractions, the authors recommended diverting colostomies or ileostomies in 12 chronically constipated children (mean age, 4 years; range, 2–14 years, 5 boys). Before study, medical treatment was ineffective in all children. These children had persistently dilated colons with pathologic diagnoses of intestinal neuronal dysplasia (n = 4), hypoganglionosis (n = 2), hollow visceral myopathy (n = 1), and normal (n = 5).

Results: Six to 30 months after diversion, the authors restudied all the children. Eleven of 12 diverted colons were no longer dilated. In two patients, abnormal motility involving the entire colon was unchanged from the initial study, small bowel motility was abnormal, and we recommended no further surgery. In two cases, the colon remained abnormal but small bowel motility was normal, and we recommended subtotal colectomy and ileoproctostomy. In four cases, the left colon remained abnormal, but the right colon was normal, and we recommended reanastomosis after left hemicolectomy. In four cases, motility in the diverted colons was normal, including a gastrocolonic response and high-amplitude propagating contractions, and the authors recommended reanastomosis. Defecation problems resolved in 10 of 12 when followed up 5 to 30 months after treatment.

Conclusion: These data suggest that in some cases of intractable childhood constipation associated with colonic distention, temporary diversion improved colonic motility. Colonic manometry may be used to predict which patients will benefit from resection or reanastomosis.

Author Information

*Pediatric Gastrointestinal Motility Center, Children's Hospital of Orange County, Orange, California, U.S.A.; †Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.; ‡Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Received November 14, 2000;

revised March 27, 2001; accepted April 30, 2001.

Supported (M. S. and T. Z.) by research fellowships from Janssen Pharmaceutica, Titusville, New Jersey.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Paul E. Hyman, Director, Pediatric Gastrointestinal Motility Center, Kansas University Medical Center, 3901 Rainbow Blvd, Kansas City, KS 66160, U.S.A. (e-mail:

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.