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Keywords:

  • colon;
  • constipation;
  • fiber-optic;
  • manometry;
  • three-dimensional visualization

Abstract

Background  Colonic propagating sequences (PS) are important for the movement of colonic content and defecation, and aberrant PS patterning has been associated with slow transit constipation. However, because these motor patterns are typically recorded over long periods (24 h +), the visualization of PS spatiotemporal patterning is difficult. Here, we develop a novel method for displaying pan-colonic motility patterns.

Methods  A 3D mesh representing the geometry of the human colon was created as follows: (i) Human colon images from the Visible Human Dataset were digitized to create a 3D data cloud, and (ii) A surface mesh was fitted to the cloud using a least-squares minimization technique. Colonic manometry catheters were placed in the ascending colon of healthy controls and patients with slow transit constipation (STC), with the aid of a colonoscope. The colonic manometry data were interpolated and mapped to the model according to the following anatomical landmarks: cecum, hepatic flexure, splenic flexure, sigmoid-descending junction, and anus.

Key Results  These 3D images clearly and intuitively communicate characteristics of normal and abnormal colonic motility. Specifically we have shown the reduced amplitude of the antegrade propagating pressure waves (PPW) throughout the colon and reduced frequency of PPWs at the mid-colon in patients with STC.

Conclusions and Inferences  A novel method for the 3D visualization of PS is presented, providing an intuitive method for representing a large volume of physiological data. These techniques can be used to display frequency, amplitude or velocity data, and will help to convey regions of abnormally in patient populations.