Abnormal colonic transit time in untreated celiac sprue.Acta Gastroenterol Latinoam 1995; 25(5):277-84AG
Motility disorders of the digestive tract have long been implicated in the pathophysiology of diarrhea in patients with celiac sprue. However, the contribution of the colon to the intestinal transit of celiac sprue has not been reported. Our aim was to determine whether sprue alters gut transit and whether differences in the clinical status of the disease influences colonic transit. We prospectively studied 25 patients with untreated celiac sprue, 15 treated patients and 15 healthy controls. Oro-cecal transit time, measured by the lactulose breath H2 test, was significantly delayed in untreated patients compared with treated patients and controls (p < 0.001 and p < 0.01 respectively). The delayed transit through the stomach and small bowel was not related to the presence of the steatorrhea. Transit of radiopaque makers, a measure of total colonic transit, was significantly faster in untreated patients (p < 0.05). The major finding was that this abnormal colonic behavior was principally due to a subpopulation of untreated patients with very fast transit times (< 18 hours). A weakly significant inverse correlation between transit and fecal weight (r: -0.55, p < 0.01), and between transit and steatorrhea (r: -0.38, p < 0.05), was observed. We confirm previous descriptions of delayed oro-cecal transit time in untreated patients, and also provide the first evidence that disordered colonic transit contributes to the pathophysiology of the diarrhea in sprue.