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Revista Brasileira de Anestesiologia

Print version ISSN 0034-7094On-line version ISSN 1806-907X


KRAYCHETE, Durval Campos  and  GUIMARAES, Ana Cristina. Visceral hyperalgesia and chronic abdominal pain: diagnostic and therapeutic approach. Rev. Bras. Anestesiol. [online]. 2003, vol.53, n.6, pp.833-853. ISSN 0034-7094.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Chronic abdominal pain is one of the most frequent reasons for medical consultation. There is, however, no well-established protocol for its diagnostic approach and, most of the times, investigation becomes an expensive and invasive medical practice. This review aimed at explaining visceral pain pathophysiology and establishing diagnostic and therapeutic goals for these patients, based on specific criteria. CONTENTS: Chronic nonspecific or functional abdominal pain is a complex interaction among impaired motility, visceral hypersensitivity and inadequate neuroendocrine and psychosocial responses. Peripheral and central nociception mechanisms seem to be involved in visceral hyperalgesia. Diagnosis requires detailed history and clinical evaluation, taking into consideration Rome II criteria. Based on known or assumed pathophysiological mechanisms, new drugs have been researched, and some have been more recently used to control abdominal pain, such as 5-HT4 receptor agonists and sodium channel blockers. CONCLUSIONS: Chronic pathophysiological abdominal pain mechanisms are still not well understood. Therapy and diagnosis require the understanding of such mechanisms, as well as of Rome II criteria. On the other hand, good patient-physician relationship and multidisciplinary team’s performance seem to be critical in improving treatment response and patients’ quality of life.

Keywords : PAIN [Chronic]; PAIN [abdominal].

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