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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Long-term results of subtotal colectomy and evidence of noncolonic involvement in patients with idiopathic slow-transit constipation.

BACKGROUND: Patients with chronic idiopathic constipation can be difficult to manage either medically or surgically. We report our experience of long-term follow-up of 21 patients who had undergone colectomy with ileorectal anastomosis for difficult chronic idiopathic constipation. METHODS: The patients (19 female, 2 male) were aged 26-68 (median = 46) years and had undergone subtotal colectomy 5-12 (median = 8) years before their assessment. They answered a questionnaire about severity of abdominal pain, bloating, urgency, and straining. They also completed the hospital anxiety and depression questionnaire. Fifteen ulcerative colitis patients with panproctocolectomy and 13 colon cancer patients with colonic resection who had a similar follow-up period served as control groups. The following assessments were performed in chronic idiopathic constipation patients with subtotal colectomy: a) oesophageal manometry; b) scintigraphic gastric emptying test; c) review of barium follow-through; d) glucose H2 breath test; e) urodynamic studies; and f) autonomic function tests. RESULTS: Twenty-four per cent of patients with chronic idiopathic constipation had a family history of difficult constipation requiring hospital investigations and treatment. At the time of assessment abdominal pain, bloating, urgency, and straining at defecation were all significantly more frequent in patients with chronic idiopathic constipation with colectomy than in the control groups with colectomy. Seventy-one per cent of chronic idiopathic constipation patients had at least one episode of intestinal obstruction after subtotal colectomy, which is significantly higher (P < 0.01) than in the control groups (ulcerative colitis, 13%; colonic carcinoma, 8%). In patients with chronic idiopathic constipation, among those studied, 68% had some oesophageal motor dysfunction: 19% delayed gastric emptying; 10%, prolonged small-bowel transit on barium follow-through; 54%, abnormal urodynamic variables; and 14%, abnormal autonomic function tests. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows considerable morbidity in a selected cohort of patients with chronic idiopathic constipation who were sufficiently disabled by their symptoms to undergo subtotal colectomy. They had more abdominal and rectal symptoms and more frequent intestinal obstructive episodes than control groups with colonic resection. Evidence of generalized smooth-muscle dysfunction and familial occurrence of constipation suggests a primary chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction-like disorder in some of these patients.[1]


  1. Long-term results of subtotal colectomy and evidence of noncolonic involvement in patients with idiopathic slow-transit constipation. Ghosh, S., Papachrysostomou, M., Batool, M., Eastwood, M.A. Scand. J. Gastroenterol. (1996) [Pubmed]
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