Abnormalities in visceral evoked potentials from the anal canal in children with chronic constipation
The integrity of the sensory nervous system in the anal canals of chronically constipated children was investigated using evoked potential techniques examining cerebral and spinal evoked potentials from the lower extremities and anal canal. Stimulation of the posterior tibial nerve produced no significant difference in the parameters of spinal and cerebral evoked potentials between 18 controls and 12 chronically constipated chidren. However, stimulation of the anal canal resulted in evoked potentials related to the age and/or consciousness level of the control children. Reproducible cerebral responses were obtained only from nine of these control children, all aged over 4 years, who were examined while awake without sedatives. A typical response was characterized by a polyphasic wave occurring with an onset latency of 79.4± 27.7ms (mean ±SD). In the 12 chronically constipated children, the 5 sedated patients examined while asleep did not show any reproducible potential, as in the controls. However, in the remaining 7 children examined while awake, the occurrence of the anal canal evoked potential was significantly reduced, and only two exhibited a cerebral response. These findings suggest that rectal mucosal perception of the intraluminal stimuli might be disturbed in some children with chronic constipation.
Key Wordsevoked potential anal canal chronic constipation child
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