Regional gastrointestinal transit times in patients with chronic pancreatitis

Isabelle M. Larsen, Sidse Holten-Rossing, Esben Bolvig Mark, Jakob Lykke Poulsen, Klaus Krogh, S. Mark Scott, Søren Schou Olesen, Asbjørn Mohr Drewes*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The mechanisms behind disrupted gastrointestinal (GI) motor function in patients with chronic pancreatitis (CP) have not been fully elucidated. We compared regional transit times in patients with CP to those in healthy controls, and investigated whether they were associated with diabetes mellitus, exocrine dysfunction, opioid treatment or quality of life. Twenty-eight patients with CP and 28 age- and gender-matched healthy controls were included. Regional GI transit times were determined using the 3D-Transit system, which consists of an ingestible electromagnetic capsule and a detector worn in an abdominal belt for 5 days. Exocrine function was assessed using the fecal elastase-1 test, and quality of life was assessed using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer questionnaire. Transit times were analyzed for associations with diabetes mellitus, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), opioid treatment and quality of life. Compared with healthy controls, patients with CP had prolonged transit times in the small intestine (6.6 ± 1.8 vs 4.8 ± 2.2 hours, P = .006), colon (40 ± 23 vs 28 ± 26 hours, P = .02), and total GI tract (52 ± 26 vs 36 ± 26 hours, P = .02). There was no difference in gastric emptying time (4.8 ± 5.2 vs 3.1 ± 1.3 hours, P = .9). No associations between transit times and diabetes, EPI, or opioid consumption were found (all P > .05). Quality of life and associated functional and symptom subscales were not associated with transit times, except for diarrhea (P = .03). Patients with CP have prolonged small intestinal and colonic transit times. However, these alterations do not seem to be mediated by diabetes, EPI, or opioid consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere31141
Issue number41
Pages (from-to)E31141
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2022 the Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency/etiology
  • Gastric Emptying
  • Gastrointestinal Transit
  • Humans
  • Pancreatic Elastase
  • Pancreatitis, Chronic/complications
  • Quality of Life
  • chronic pancreatitis
  • diabetes mellitus
  • exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
  • gastrointestinal transit time
  • opioids


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