Motility Disorders Require Expertise for Diagnosis, Treatment
While gastrointestinal motility disorders in children may exhibit some of the same signs and symptoms as adult motility disorders, there are distinct differences in their diagnosis and treatment. Mark Kusek, MD, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Children’s Hospital in Omaha says the variations between the adult and pediatric versions of the same disorders can make correctly evaluating pediatric patients a challenge.
“Many primary care physicians see the conditions from the onset but
lack the testing equipment or the specialization to identify the etiology,” Dr.
Pediatric gastrointestinal motility disorders vary from less serious conditions such as chronic constipation to serious conditions including chronic intestinal pseudo obstruction, which includes symptoms such as periodic vomiting or the inability to eat normally that indicate an obstruction of the digestive system though no anatomical obstruction exists.
“Many of these conditions are chronic and can occur at any age,” Dr. Kusek says. “All are treatable, but because they can result in loss of weight or poor growth, it is very important to diagnose and begin a treatment plan as quickly as possible.”
To provide comprehensive evaluation and treatment, Children’s offers multidisciplinary subspecialty clinics within the GI department that are unique in Nebraska.
“Because the brain is such a huge component of many of these disorders, we employ comprehensive biological, psychological and social management of these issues incorporating gastrointestinal physicians, surgeons, child psychologists, dietitians and social workers,” says Dr. Kusek.
Therapy may include medication, psychology to relieve stress, anxiety or depression, or surgical management. In some cases, implantable devices such as a gastric electrical stimulator are used to help get the stomach back on track.