Parameters of the rectoanal inhibitory reflex in patients with idiopathic fecal incontinence and chronic constipation.Dis Colon Rectum. 1998 Feb; 41(2):200-8.DC
The rectoanal inhibitory reflex is a response of the internal anal sphincter to rectal distention, reflecting the functional nature of the anal sampling mechanism of rectal discrimination. The aim of this study was to assess the parameters of the rectoanal inhibitory reflex in healthy volunteers and incontinent and symptomatically constipated patients.
The rectoanal inhibitory reflex was recorded in 42 patients using reproducible threshold volumes. Excitatory and inhibitory latencies, maximum excitatory and inhibitory pressures, amplitude, and slope of inhibition, slope and time of pressure recovery, and area under the inhibitory curve were estimated. Pudendal nerve terminal motor latency and endoanal magnetic resonance imaging were performed in all incontinent patients.
Significant linear trends were found for most parameters at each sphincter level when analyzed. Recovery time and area under the inhibitory curve differed between the sphincter levels and patient groups, with the most rapid recovery occurring in the distal sphincter of incontinent patients (P < 0.001). These pressure findings were not accounted for by differences in excitation between patient groups.
A coordinated response by the internal anal sphincter to rectal distention with recovery of anal pressure from the distal to the proximal sphincter is suggested. Continence may rely on the character of internal anal sphincter inhibition, and recovery and preoperative assessment of rectoanal inhibitory reflex parameters may be important for predicting functional result following low anastomosis.