In a recent publication in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, researchers aimed to ascertain whether chronic constipation (CC) is linked with a greater rate of abnormal colonic motor activity in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than in children without ASD. Ascertaining if clinical variables could recognize children with ASD at risk for possessing abnormal colonic motility was defined as a secondary goal.

The researchers conducted a retrospective, propensity-matched, case-control study that compared colonic manometry (CM) of an ASD cohort and non-ASD controls with CC.

The study included 56 patients with ASD and 123 controls without the diagnosis of ASD who underwent CM. As possible predictors of abnormal intestinal motility, clinical factors were assessed.

The results revealed that propensity score resulted in 35 matched cohorts of ASD and controls. The rate of abnormal CM findings between ASD and matched controls did not differ significantly and was reported as 24% versus 20%, respectively.

Additionally, a prediction model of abnormal CM encompassing ASD diagnosis, duration of constipation, and soiling attained achieved a sensitivity of 0.94 and a specificity of 0.65, and the risk for abnormal colonic motility was augmented by 11% for every 1-year increase in the duration of constipation. The odds for abnormal motility were 30 times greater in ASD children with soiling than in controls with soiling (P <.0001).

The authors concluded that based on their findings, the incidence of CC does not seem to be correlated with a greater rate of abnormal colonic motility in children with ASD.

The authors wrote, “Clinical information of disease duration and presence of soiling due to constipation show promise in identifying patients with ASD at a greater risk for abnormal colonic motility.”

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