Transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TES) for treatment of constipation in children.


eMediNexus    09 March 2018

The purpose of a study published in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews was to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TES) when employed to improve bowel function and constipation-related symptoms in children with constipation. This study identified relevant studies from MEDLINE (PubMed), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), EMBASE, the Cochrane IBD Group Specialized Register, trial registries and conference proceedings. Randomized controlled trials that assessed any type of TES, compared to no treatment, a sham TES, other forms of nerve stimulation or any other pharmaceutical or non-pharmaceutical measures used to treat constipation in children were included. The findings showed that 16/21 children in the TES group and 15/21 in the sham group had >3 complete spontaneous bowel movements (CSBM) per week. While 10/14 children in the TES group had improved colonic transit compared to 1/7 in the sham group. Mean colonic transit rate, was higher in children who received TES compared to sham. Additionally, 9/13 children in the TES group had improved soiling-related symptoms compared to 4/12 sham participants. Meanwhile, 4/8 TES participants reported an improvement in quality of life (QoL) compared to 1/8 sham participants. Furthermore, no adverse effects were reported in the included study. From the observations it was concluded that the effects of TES on self-perceived or parent-perceived QoL are uncertain. It was stated that there is insufficient evidence to determine the effect of TES on symptoms and QoL outcomes. Hence, further randomized controlled trials assessing TES for the management of childhood constipation were proposed.

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