OBJECTIVE: Patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) often suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) dysfunction including obstructive symptoms, malabsorption and pain, but the underlying pathophysiology remains obscure. AIM: To compare GI motility and transit times in CF patients and healthy controls. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Ten CF patients (five women, median age 23) with pancreatic insufficiency were studied. Total gastrointestinal transit time (GITT) and segmental colonic transit times (SCTT) were assessed by radiopaque markers. Gastric emptying and small intestinal transit were evaluated using the magnet-based motility tracking system (MTS-1). With each method patients were compared with 16 healthy controls. RESULTS: Basic contraction frequencies of the stomach and small intestine were normal, but the pill reached the cecum after 7 h in only 20% of CF patients while in 88% of controls (p = 0.001). Paradoxically, velocity of the magnetic pill through the upper small intestine tended to be faster in CF patients (median 1.1 cm/min, range 0.7-1.7) compared with controls (median 1.0 cm/min, range 0.6-1.7) (p = 0.09). No statistically significant differences were found in median gastric emptying time (CF: 58 min, range 6-107 vs. healthy: 41 min, range 4-125 (p = 0.24)), GITT (CF: 2 days, range 0.5-3.3 vs. healthy: 1.5 days, range 0.7-2.5 (p = 0.10)), right SCTT (CF: 0.5 day, range 0-1.1 vs. healthy: 0.4 day, range 0-1.0 (p = 0.85)), or left SCTT (CF: 1.0 day, range 0-2.2 vs. healthy 0.6 day, range 0.2-1.2 (p = 0.10)). CONCLUSIONS: In spite of normal contraction patterns, overall passage through the small intestine is significantly delayed in CF patients while upper small intestinal transit may be abnormally fast.
Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, 2012, Vol 8-9, Issue 47, p. 920-926