Author(s): Roberts JP, Womack NR, Hallan RI, Thorpe AC, Williams NS
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Abstract The role of anismus in the aetiology of defective rectal evacuation was investigated by dynamic integrated proctography in 20 controls and 71 constipated patients. Normal parameters were defined and compared between 21 constipated patients with poor evacuation during proctography (< 40 per cent of contrast evacuated; group 1) and 50 who evacuated fully (> 90 per cent of contrast evacuated; group 2). Nine patients in group 1 failed to evacuate. Radiological abnormalities of the rectum were recorded in all groups but obstructed evacuation was not observed. Anismus (defined as a recruitment of puborectalis electromyogram (EMG) activity of > 50 per cent) was significantly more common in group 1 than group 2 patients (14 of 21 versus 12 of 50, P < 0.01) and present in seven of those unable to evacuate. Eight patients in group 1 failed to raise intrarectal pressure > 50 cmH2O compared with two in group 2 (P < 0.001). Six patients in group 1 demonstrated both anismus and inability to raise intrarectal pressure, which may combine to cause defective evacuation. EMG recruitment alone is insufficient to diagnose anismus. Definition should be based on three criteria: demonstration of puborectalis EMG recruitment of > 50 per cent; evidence of an adequate level of intrarectal pressure (> 50 cmH2O) on straining; and presence of defective evacuation.
This article was published in Br J Surg
and referenced in Internal Medicine: Open Access