AbstractThe purpose of this study was to develop a computer program for fully automated analysis of all presently known motor patterns in human colonic motility recordings. Colonic pressure recordings obtained from 24 healthy volunteers were used. Algorithms were developed for the detection and numerical analysis of five types of pressure waves: antegrade, retrograde, simultaneous, high-amplitude and isolated pressure waves. Furthermore, periodical motor activity was quantified. Validation was performed by comparison with visual analysis by two experienced observers. Patterns recorded during day- and night-time were compared using multiple-factor analysis of variance with Bonferroni correction. Automated analysis correlated well with visual peak detection (r = 0.98, P <0.01) and detection of antegrade pressure waves (r = 0.98, P <0.01). Most motor patterns showed a diurnal variation. During the night, prevalences of antegrade (938 vs 455; P <0.05), retrograde (112 vs 81; P <0.05), high-amplitude (12.9 vs 1.3; P <0.05), isolated pressure waves (1114 vs 765; P <0.05), and periodic motor activity were decreased (7.33 vs 4.47%; P <0.05). However, when expressed as percentage of absolute numbers of pressure waves, prevalences remained constant. In conclusion, fully automated analysis of all hitherto described colonic motility patterns is feasible. During the night, overall wave prevalences markedly decreased, but the distribution over the various motor patterns was preserved.