Rectal Intussusception: A Study of Rectal Biomechanics and Visceroperception

Dvorkin, Lee S.; Gladman, Marc A.; Scott, S. Mark; Williams, Norman S.; Lunniss, Peter J.
July 2005
American Journal of Gastroenterology;Jul2005, Vol. 100 Issue 7, p1578
Academic Journal
OBJECTIVES : Rectal intussusception (RI) is a significant cause of morbidity amongst those with a rectal evacuatory disorder. The pathophysiology is unknown, but may involve abnormal biomechanics of the rectal wall similar to that previously demonstrated in patients with overt rectal prolapse (RP). Using an electromechanical barostat, this study aimed to investigate the biomechanics and visceroperception of the rectal wall in patients with RI. METHODS : Twenty consecutive patients (12 females, median age 46 yr (range 24–66)) with symptomatic, full-thickness RI were studied. Patients underwent assessment of rectal compliance, visceroperception, adaptive response to isobaric distension at urge threshold, and assessment of the postprandial response. Results were compared with those obtained in 28 asymptomatic volunteers, 10 with RI (6 females, median age 29 yr (range 21–36)) and 18 (9 females, median age 33 yr (range 21–62)) without. RESULTS : In the absence of the clinical finding of solitary rectal ulcer syndrome (SRUS), patients with symptomatic RI have normal rectal wall biomechanics, as do asymptomatic volunteers with RI ( p < 0.05). Patients with the clinical finding of SRUS had reduced compliance and adaptation. In all three groups, there was a linear relationship between rectal pressure and visceroperception. The postprandial contractile response was similar between groups. CONCLUSIONS : Patients with RI have normal rectal wall biomechanics. This is in contrast to patients with RP, and suggests that while they may represent different stages of the same disease process, they are physiologically distinct. In patients with RI and SRUS, rectal wall inflammation and fibrosis, perhaps arising secondary to the intussusception, may explain the physiological changes observed. (Am J Gastroenterol 2005;100:1–8)


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