Are functional gastrointestinal disorders a clinically significant comorbid factor for acute respiratory infection in children?

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Rationale: Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID) are highly prevalent in children worldwide. Current concept of FGID pathophysiology implies contributions from various mechanisms. Information in the role of acute respiratory infections in the development of FGID in children is lacking.

Aim: To determine the prevalence of FGID in children hospitalized to the department of infectious diseases with acute respiratory tract infections (ARTI) and their association with demographic, medical biological factors and clinical manifestations.

Materials and methods: We performed observational and cross-sectional study with continuous patient sampling. The study included 180 ARTI patients, whose mothers agreed to fill in the proposed questionnaire of 41 items. The diagnosis of FGID during in-hospital stay was made based on clinical data in accordance with the Rome criteria IV (2016) and by standard collection of the information from the parents. The stool characteristics were assessed with the Bristol scale. The rate of recurrent ARTI was assessed by the resistance index of above 0.5. We considered clinical symptoms of ARTI at the admittance, the rates of bacterial complications and the need in antibacterial treatment.

Results: The prevalence of FGID in hospitalized children with ARTI below 4 years of age (n = 134) was 35.1% (95% confidence interval [CI]) 27.0– 43.9); they had higher rates of functional diarrhea (14.9%, 95% CI 9.4–22.1) and constipation (14.2%, 95% CI 8.8–21.3). Among those above 4 years of age (n = 46), FGID were diagnosed in 50% (95% CI 34.9–65.1) of the cases; with most frequent symptoms being abdominal pain (39.1%, 95% CI 25.1–54.6) and irritable bowel syndrome (10.8%). Irrespective of their age, the children with FGID had higher rates of ARTI recurrence (by 34.0%, 95% CI 20.0–48.1; relative risk 1.98, 95% CI 1.47–2.69; odds ratio 4.13, 95% CI 2.18–7.85) and intestinal infections in their past history, compared to those without any gastrointestinal symptoms during the index hospitalization. In children with FGID, ARTI were more frequently complicated by otitis and they had higher requirement in antibiotics. The mothers of the infants and toddlers with FGID had lower educational level (smaller proportion of those with high school education) and were less satisfied with their home and living conditions, whereas their fathers were older and more frequently employed in vehicle operations and less frequently were occupied in communication-related professions.

Conclusion: Acute respiratory infections, especially recurring, may plaу a significant role in the development and maintenance of FGID in children. Further studies are necessary, which may result in useful information for the development of tailored strategies to treatment and prevention.

About the authors

E. R. Meskina

Moscow Regional Research and Clinical Institute (MONIKI)

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1960-6868

Elena R. Meskina – MD, PhD, Head of Сhildren's Infectious Disease Department

61/2 Shchepkina ul., Moskow, 129110

Tel.: +7 (916) 121 61 72

Russian Federation

M. K. Khadisova

Moscow Regional Research and Clinical Institute (MONIKI)


Marima K. Khadisova – MD, PhD, Research Fellow, Сhildren's Infectious Disease Department

61/2 Shchepkina ul., Moskow, 129110

Tel.: +7 (926) 264 93 30

Russian Federation


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Copyright (c) 2020 Meskina E.R., Khadisova M.K.

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