Treatment failure in children diagnosed with constipation in a paediatric emergency department in relation to Rome III criteria Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: To determine if treatment failure varies based on ROME III classification and adherence to guideline congruent therapy among children diagnosed in an emergency department with functional constipation. METHODS: Children aged 1 month to 18 years who were diagnosed with constipation in a paediatric emergency department underwent chart review and 7-day phone follow-up to complete the ROME III questionnaire, confirm treatments administered, and assess treatment failure. Participants were classified according to the ROME III criteria as having functional constipation (FC) or irritable bowel syndrome - constipation (IBS-C) subtype. The primary outcome was treatment failure defined as ≥ 2 of the following: 1) presenting symptom persistence; 2) < 1 bowel movement every other day; 3) pain/difficulty passing stools; and 4) abdominal pain between bowel movements. RESULTS: Five hundred and thirteen children completed follow-up; 40% (204/513) had FC, 23% (118/513) IBS-C, and 37% (191/513) did not meet either criteria. Treatment failure rates in children who received guideline congruent treatment were 28% (38/135) among those classified as FC and 43% (37/86) among those with IBS-C; P=0.02, a difference of 15% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.02, 0.27). On regression analysis, ROME III classification was not an independent predictor of treatment failure (odds ratio [OR]: 1.56 [95% CI: 0.97, 2.51]). At 7-day follow up, pain in between bowel movements was present in 22% (44/204) in FC patients versus 45% (53/118) of IBS-C patients; P=0.001. CONCLUSIONS: Treatment failure rates in children who receive guideline congruent therapy are higher among those with IBS-C, however, after adjustment for known confounders the relationship was not statistically significant.


  • Eltorki, Mo
  • Bhattacharjee, Amrita
  • Khan, Maida
  • Martin, Elise
  • Shyleyko, Robert
  • Freedman, Stephen B

publication date

  • May 15, 2019