PURPOSE: To understand the relative importance of changes in ileal smooth muscle contractility versus alteration of intestinal flow rate as control mechanisms for regulating intestinal transit in a surgical model of short-gut syndrome. METHODS: A model of short-gut syndrome was created by performing a 70% proximal small-bowel resection in dogs. Ten control and 6 animals with short-gut syndrome were instrumented with strain gauge transducers, steel collection cannulas, and a Silastic intraluminal infusion catheter in the midileum. Motor activity was analyzed by computer programs that determine frequency, amplitude, and propagation behavior of postprandial contractions. Perfusions of 14C-polyethylene glycol and bolus injection of 3H-polyethylene glycol were used to determine intestinal flow and transit rates. Total gastroduodenal emptying was determined using a 14C-polyethylene glycol-labelled meal. RESULTS: Postprandial contraction frequency was decreased in animals with short-gut syndrome, but other significant changes in amplitude, mean area, and propagation behavior of postprandial ileal contractions were not seen. Gastroduodenal emptying and mean intestinal flow rates were markedly slower in animals with short-gut syndrome, as were intestinal transit rates. CONCLUSIONS: In this model of short-gut syndrome, the major adaptive change is decreased intestinal flow rate, related to delayed gastroduodenal emptying. The spatial organization of ileal contractions does not change substantially aside from a change in frequency which can be accounted for by transection of the intestinal wall.
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