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Keywords:

  • Interferential therapy;
  • slow transit constipation;
  • colonic transit time

Abstract

Aim

The study aimed to assess, for the first time, the effectiveness of interferential therapy (IFT) in the treatment of slow transit constipation in adults and its impact on the quality of life.

Method

All consecutive patients with slow transit constipation diagnosed by symptomology and a colonic transit time (CTT) of > 100 h measured with radiopaque markers were included in this prospective study. IFT was performed for 1 h/day over 3 months. Clinical improvement was based on the stool diary and the Knowles–Eccersley–Scott Symptom and Cleveland Clinic Constipation Scores. Quality of life was assessed with the Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index questionnaire.

Results

Eleven patients with a median age of 51 years were included. At the end of the follow-up period, seven (63.6%) had significantly improved after IFT with a median of 0.66 stools per week [interquartile range (IQR) 0.33–0.66] before treatment and 1.66 (IQR 1.33–1.66) after (= 0.007). The Knowles–Eccersley–Scott Symptom score changed from 30 (IQR 27–33) before treatment to 19 (IQR 17–26) after treatment (= 0.005) and the Cleveland Clinic Constipation Score from 26 (IQR 25–28) to 17 (IQR 13–24; = 0.005). The CTT improved from 103 h (IQR 101–113) to 98 h (IQR 94–107; = 0.02). The Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index score improved from 60 (IQR 57–63) to 95 (IQR 68–100; = 0.005).

Conclusion

IFT is a new non-invasive treatment for slow transit constipation. Further studies to confirm these results with longer follow-up are necessary.