The gastrointestinal tract, particularly the oesophagus, is affected in about half of all patients with systemic sclerosis. Only a few studies so far have dealt with the anorectal tract. We studied the anal function using anorectal manometry in 12 patients with limited systemic sclerosis. We also studied the oesophageal function. For the oesophagus, we measured the difference between intragastric and oesophageal pressure, while for the anorectal tract we investigated the maximum resting pressure, the maximum voluntary squeeze effort and the rectoanal inhibitory reflex. Maximum resting pressure and maximum voluntary squeeze effort were found to be decreased in all patients. The rectoanal inhibitory reflex was abnormal in four patients. Statistical analysis showed a significant correlation between maximum resting pressure and maximum voluntary squeeze effort. No correlation was found between oesophageal and anorectal involvement. Anorectal dysfunction is common in patients with limited systemic sclerosis. We suggest that these patients should have an evaluation of their anorectal function including anorectal manometry.
- Systemic sclerosis
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