Rectal Distension Increased the Rectoanal Gradient in Patients with Normal Rectal Sensory Function

Leila Neshatian, Mary Jane O.U. Williams, Eamonn M. Quigley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Frequent observation of abnormal manometric patterns consistent with dyssynergia in healthy volunteers has warranted the need for reassessment of the current methods to enhance the diagnostic value of anorectal manometry in functional defecatory disorders. Whether rectal distention at simulated evacuation will affect anorectal pressure profile and increase rectoanal gradient is not known. Methods: One hundred and eight consecutive patients with chronic constipation, 93 females, median age 53 years (interquartile range: 40–65), were studied. Simulated evacuation was performed firstly with empty balloon and subsequently after balloon distention to 50 and 100 ml. Anorectal pressures were compared. We also performed subgroup analysis in relation to outcome of balloon expulsion test (BET). In addition, we studied the effect of rectal distension on the rectoanal pressure gradient with respect to rectal sensory function. Results: Rectal balloon distension at simulated evacuation improved rectoanal gradient and decreased the rate of dyssynergia during high-resolution anorectal manometry. In subgroup analysis, the increase in rectoanal gradient and correction of dyssynergia with rectal distension was limited to the patients who had normal BET and normal rectal sensory function. Rate of anal relaxation, residual anal pressures, and rectoanal gradient were significantly different between patients with and without normal BET at 50 ml of rectal distension. Rectoanal gradient recorded only after rectal distension, along with BMI and maximum tolerable volumes, could predict BET results independently in patients with chronic constipation. Conclusions: Rectal distension during simulated evacuation will affect the anorectal pressure profile. Increase in rectoanal gradient and correction of dyssynergia was only significant in patients with normal rectal sensory function and normal BET.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2345-2352
Number of pages8
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Anorectal manometry
  • Dyssynergia
  • Rectal distension
  • Rectal hyposensitivity
  • Rectoanal gradient

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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