NASPGHAN Postgraduate Course 2017 (Part 5): Refractory constipation, Extraesophageal GERD, POTS, Recurrent Abdominal Pain

This blog entry has abbreviated/summarized these presentations. Though not intentional, some important material is likely to have been omitted; in addition, transcription errors are possible as well.

Here is a link to postgraduate course syllabus: NASPGHAN PG Syllabus – 2017

The child with refractory constipation

Jose Garza   GI Care for Kids & Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Key points:

  • Polyethylene glycol is a first-line agent and many patients require cleanout at start of therapy
  • Adequate dose of laxative is needed for sure regular painless stools
  • Don’t stop medicines before toilet training and until pattern of regular stooling established. “All symptoms of constipation should resolve for at least one month before discontinuation of treatment”
  • Gradually reduce laxatives when improved
  • An abdominal xray is NOT recommended to make the diagnosis of constipation
  • Do you have the right diagnosis? Irritable bowel is often confused with constipation.  With constipation, the pain is relieved after resolution of constipation.
  • Outlet dysfunction. Stimulant laxatives (eg. Senna) are probably underutilized. Biofeedback may help in older children.
  • Slow transit constipation. Newer prosecretory agents may be helpful –lubiprostone and linaclotide.
  • Organic constipation. Hirschsprung’s, Spina bifida, anorectal malformations etc. Testing: anorectal manometry, rectal biopsy (for Hirschsprung’s)
  • For refractory disease, consider rectal therapy –suppositories, transanal irritagations/enemas (~78% success for fecal incontinence/constipation). These treatments should be used prior to surgical therapy (eg. Malone antegrade continence enema/cecostomy)



The quest for the holy grail: Accurately diagnosing and treating extraesophageal reflux

Rachel Rosen   Boston Children’s Hospital

Key points:

  • It is frequent that EGD or impedance study will be abnormal, though this may not be causally-related.
  • No correlation with ENT exams/red airways and reflux parameters
  • No correlation with lipid laden macrophages and reflux parameters
  • No correlation with salivary pepsin and reflux parameters


  • Lansoprazole was not effective for colic or extraesophageal symptoms (Orenstein et al J Pediatrics 2009)
  • PPIs can increase risk of pneumonia/respiratory infections
  • Macrolides have been associated with increased risk of asthma but may be helpful for pulmonary symptoms
  • Fundoplication has not been shown to be effective for reducing aspiration pneumonia.  Fundoplication could increase risk due to worsened esophageal drainage.
  • ALTEs (BRUEs -brief resolved undefined events) need swallow study NOT PPIs

POTS and Joint Hypermobility: what do they have to do with functional abdominal pain?

Miguel Saps  University of Miami

Key points:

  • Patients with POTS and joint hypermobility have frequent functional abdominal pain as well as other comorbidities
  • Beighton Score can determine if joint hypermobility is present
  • Brighton Score determines if hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is present
  • Patients with frequent fatigue.  Gradual progressive and regular exercise is important part of therapy.  Can start with recombant exercise – training bicycle exercise, swimming
  • Need to push salt intake and fluds

Do I need to test that C.R.A.P.?

Rina Sanghavi   Children’s Medical Center Dallas

This basic talk reviewed a broad range of issues related to functional abdominal pain.

Key points:

  • Carnett’s sign can help establish abdominal pain as due to abdominal wall pain rather than visceral pain
  • What is an appropriate evaluation?  Limited diagnostic testing for most patients.
  • Alarm symptoms include: Fevers, Nocturnal diarrhea, Dysphagia, Significant vomiting, Weight Loss/poor growth, Delayed Puberty, and Family history of IBD

NASPGHAN Postgraduate Course 2014 -3rd Module

This blog entry has abbreviated/summarized the presentations. Though not intentional, some important material is likely to have been omitted; in addition, transcription errors are possible as well.  All of the speakers had terrific presentations.  The course syllabus is attached:

PG Course Syllabus 2014

The 3rd Module had a “potpourri” of GI problems.

Extraesophageal Manifestations of Gastroesophageal Reflux –Ben Gold, MD (GI Care For Kids, Atlanta) (pg 86)

Is reflux really the scurge of the earth and the cause of every malady known to human-kind in the head, neck, and lungs…?

Key points:

Airway protection: “Aerodigestive disease reflexes are intact by 38 weeks gestation.”

Central deglutition apnea: a normal protective mechanism to prevent aspiration during swallowing. (Hasenstab KA, Jadcherla, S. J Pediatr 2014; 165:250-255).  No proof at present that central apnea is caused by reflux though there is a biologic plausibility.

“Although reflux causes physiologic apnea, it causes pathologic apneic episodes in only a very small number of newborns and infants.”  “When reflux causes pathological apnea, the infant is more likely to be awake and the apnea is more likely to be obstructive in nature.”

Laryngeal Reflux:

  • Chronic cough, chronic laryngitis, hoarseness, and asthma may be associated with GERD BUT the data showing a relation between reflux and upper airway disease are weak
  • Airway symptoms attributed to reflux in adults include hoarseness, chronic cough, and globus sensation
  • Affected adults rarely have typical reflux symptoms
  • The sensitivity of laryngoscopic findings to identify reflux disease are poor. Sherman et al. Am J Gastroenterol. 2009;104:1278-95. Vandenplas et al. J Pediatr Gastroenter Nutr. 2009;49:498-547.


“Chronic cough, chronic laryngitis, hoarseness and asthma are multifactorial disease processes and acid reflux can be an aggravating cofactor.” GER is an unlikely contributor to asthma if reflux testing is negative.

“Two NIH-funded blinded, randomized placebo-controlled trials (RCT), one in adults (using esomeprazole), one in children (using lansoprazole) showed NO difference in asthma outcomes comparing placebo and acid suppression therapy”

Multi-Channel Intraluminal Impedance/pH probe studies: Pediatric studies are critically needed to determine if knowing the amount of nonacid reflux changes treatment or outcome

Proton Pump Inhibitors can cause gastric bacterial overgrowth (Rosen R et al JAMA Pediatr 2014; JAMA Pediatr. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.696)

Ben Gold (speaker) and Jay Hochman prior to 5K Run

Ben Gold (speaker) and Jay Hochman prior to 5K Run

Related blog posts:

EoE: PPI, PPI-REE, TCS, OVB, SFED, 4FED….…Alphabet Distress — Sandeep K Gupta, MD (Indiana University) pg 105 in Syllabus

Treatment endpoints discussed -histologic, symptomatic, fibrosis, etc.

  • Proton pump inhibitor responsive eosinophilic esophagitis (PPI-REE) may work by blocking STAT6 binding to Eotaxin-3 promoter rather than by acid suppression (PLos ONE 2012;7:e50037).  PPIs work (eos <6/hpf) in in 30-40%.  May need high dose to work long-term (Dr Molina-Infante – DDW 2014)
  • Topical corticosteroids (TCS) -higher dose = better response.  (Budesonide. Gupta SK, Vitanza J, Collins, MH Clin Gastro Hepatol 2014 [ePub], Fluticasone. Butz BK. Gastroenterology 2014). Clinical symptoms do not correlate with histologic response. Discussed long term safety concerns.
  • Reviewed diets -elemental, targeted, 4-food elimination and 6-food elimination.

Related blog posts:

“Gotta keep on movin”: New tricks and treatments for motility disorders –Carlo DiLorenzo (Nationwide Children’s Hospital) pg 116 in Syllabus

Key points:

  1. Most important motility study is a normal study.  If normal study, then there is more concern for sensory dysfunction.   Look for significant findings on motility studies not minor changes.
  2. Key to confirm if motility disorder is present. Hx/o small intestinal transplant in medical child abuse/Munchausen syndrome by proxy (Trans Proc 1996; 28: 2790)
  3. New tool: wireless motility capsule (J Pediatr. 2013;162:1181-7)
  4. Easier to obtain full thickness biopsies (Gastrointest Endosc 2011;73:949-54)

Treatments reviewed -“try everything”

  • prucalopride (JPGN 2014; 57: 197-203
  • cisapride -still available
  • lubiprostone (JPGN 2014;58:283–291)
  • linaclotide boxed warning not for <17 years of age –though has been used by motility specialists
  • cyproheptadine (J Pediatr 2013; 163: 261-7) –use in dyspepsia
  • fludrocortisone -used in orthostatic intolerance
  • augmentin -for small bowel motility (JPGN 2012;54: 780–784)
  • octreotide -for bowel motility
  • pyridostigmine (Colorectal Disease 2010 12, 540–548)
  • iberogast
  • botulinum toxin (Gastrointest Endosc. 2012 ;75:302-9)
  • treat bacterial overgrowth
  • surgery: Jube, GJ tube, ileostomy. “Every child with pseudoobstruction on TPN needs a gastrostomy and an ileostomy –(me, now)”
  • gastric electrical stimulation
  • emerging treatment: Elobixibat (for constipation) Expert Opin. Investig. Drugs

Related blog posts:

What’s New in the Diagnosis and Management of Constipation –Manu Sood (Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin) -page 130 in Syllabus

Reviewed recent guidelines from NASPGHAN

“Miralax is considered a 1st line agent”

Outcomes in children with constipation:

  • Almost 50% of patients experienced at least one relapse in first 5 yrs.
  • Almost 20% of children were symptomatic at 10 yrs. follow up (Bongers ME, et al. Pediatrics. 2010)


  • Slow transit is common
  • Rectal compliance does not predict success with treatment. Van den Berg MM, et al. Gastroenterology 2009.  Patients with mega-rectum may have motility disturbance as well.
  • Success rates for antegrade continence enemas (ACE) 65% to 89%. Colon manometry can help predict ACE success.  Up to 40% may be able to stop ACE w/in 2 years

Related blog posts:

Link to NASPGHAN Lectures and Postgraduate Course

Later this week, our national pediatric GI meeting (North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition) is starting in Atlanta.  Many in my group are involved and presenting.

The following link (with permission from NASPGHAN) is to the website with links to all of these lectures:

NASPGHAN 2014 Atlanta meeting

For those interested only in the Syllabus for the Postgraduate Course:  NASPGHAN 2014 Postgraduate Course.

Topics include in this 200 page (online) book: primary sclerosing cholangitis, jaundiced infant, acute liver failure, “dreaded” endoscopy wake up calls, endoscopy for biliary tract disease, extraesophageal manifestations of gastroesophageal reflux, constipation, eosinophilic esophagitis, motility disorders, FODMAPs diet, nutrition for neurologically impaired, early onset inflammatory bowel disease, “luminitis” due to non-IBD causes, new IBD treatments, and diet-microbiome.

Should be great!

Also, to plan your meeting -go to NASPGHAN home page and use mobile guidebook: NASPGHAN 2014 has gone mobile using Guidebook!