Fabricated induced illness (FII) is recognised amongst children presenting with suspected Chronic Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction (CIPO) (Hyman 2012). We aimed to investigate the presence, nature and potential causes of social concerns in children being referred to our national centre with possible CIPO.
All patients accepted into the CIPO diagnostic pathway over 3 years (April 2012-April 2015) were reviewed. Acceptance criteria included all of the following (1) referral from a paediatric gastroenterologist or surgeon suspecting a diagnosis of CIPO, (2) mechanical obstruction of the intestine excluded and 3) reliance on specialised enteral or parenteral feeding. The presence and nature of social concerns were recorded pre- & post-assessment along with associated characteristics pertaining to the referral, family situation as well as child protection. Comparison was made to referrals to the IBD service within the department.
Of 78 accepted children (mean 5.2 years, 42F) 57 were diagnosed with CIPO, 53 (4.2yrs 31F) by abnormal antroduodenal manometry (ADM) and 4, unsuitable for ADM, by clinical picture. Of the remaining 21 patients (5.8yrs 12F) with normal ADM, 8 were found to have FII; 4 driven by a parent and 4 by the patient (teenage girls). The remaining 13 patients had non-CIPO diagnoses. Of those with normal ADM 17/21 had social concerns; 10 with formal child protection or FII and 7 with concerns over treatment compliance and ambiguity of symptoms. Of those with CIPO 18/57 had social concerns including 2 formally listed as child protection for neglect/parenting concerns and 1 with possible FII. The remaining CIPO cases had a variety of concerns mainly around ambiguity and reliability of reporting. Comparison with a newly diagnosed IBD cohort (161 patients) during the same period revealed only 7 with social concerns. Recurrent themes in those with social concerns, particularly CIPO, included consumerism, internet and media involvement (Facebook, fundraising and celebrity events), resistance to positive news and pain predominant clinical picture.
Social concerns (including safeguarding and child protection) in children thought to have CIPO are prevalent (45%) and approximately 10-fold higher than seen in IBD (4.3%). Although commoner in non-CIPO patients, social concerns are also prevalent in those proven to have CIPO (32%). These concerns should be explored and addressed along with an emerging ‘profile’ of associated risk factors such as use of multi-media, medical consumerism and a pain predominant clinical picture.
1Division of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, Gastroenterology Unit
3Department of Psychology & Family Services, Great Ormond Street Hospital, London.