Discriminative Value of Anorectal Manometry in Clinical Practice
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Guidelines recommend anorectal manometry in patients with fecal incontinence and chronic constipation. However, limited evidence supports the utility of manometric testing. We retrospectively reviewed tracings obtained between November 2005 and May 2008. A total of 298 patients (86% women; average age 52 years) were included. The main indications were incontinence (51%) and constipation (42%). Patients suffering from incontinence were older and had lower resting and squeeze pressure compared to continent patients. However, the discriminative power of manometric pressure data was poor, with low sensitivity and specificity. An abnormal straining pattern suggesting dyssynergic defecation was seen in 43% of constipated patients compared to 13% of patients with fecal incontinence. A concordance between manometric patterns and the balloon expulsion test was seen in 72%. The low sensitivity and specificity of manometric parameters does not support the routine use of anorectal manometry in patients with defecation disorders.