Effect of colectomy on gastric emptying in idiopathic slow-transit constipation




Gastric emptying is delayed in patients with idiopathic slow-transit constipation (ISTC). Gastric emptying was measured before and after colectomy and ileorectal anastomosis in patients with ISTC to determine whether the abnormality persists after operation.


Twelve patients undergoing colectomy for severe ISTC had solid-phase gastric emptying measured after an overnight fast. All 12 had an uncomplicated subtotal colectomy and ileorectal anastomosis; 11 had an excellent functional outcome. In ten of these patients gastric emptying was repeated within 3 months of operation. Seven patients (including the remaining two) had the study performed at 1 year.


All 12 patients had severely delayed gastric emptying before operation. Gastric emptying remained delayed in the ten patients who underwent an early postoperative gastric emptying study. Six of seven patients assessed at 1 year had improved gastric emptying, of whom four had returned to normal. Functional outcome did not relate to gastric emptying.


Patients with ISTC have delayed gastric emptying. In some patients this returns to normal after colectomy, but is persistent in others. This may have implications for our understanding of ISTC. © 2000 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd