Long-Term Risks of Parkinson’s Disease, Surgery, and Colorectal Cancer in Patients With Slow-Transit Constipation

Published:August 31, 2020DOI:

      Background & Aims

      Long-term outcomes of constipation have not been evaluated fully. We investigated the incidence of Parkinson’s disease, constipation-related surgery, and colorectal cancer (CRC) in patients with constipation and slow-transit constipation (STC), followed up for up to 20 years.


      We collected data from 2165 patients (33.1% men; median patient age, 54 y; median symptom duration, 5.0 y) with a diagnosis of constipation (based on Rome II criteria) who underwent an anorectal function test and a colonic transit time study, from 2000 through 2010, at a tertiary university hospital in Seoul, South Korea. The presence of STC was determined from colonic transit time. We used the Kaplan–Meier method to analyze and compare cumulative probabilities of a new diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease or CRC according to the presence of STC. The patients were followed up until the end of 2019.


      During a median follow-up period of 4.7 years (interquartile range, 0.7–8.3 y), 10 patients underwent constipation-related surgery. The cumulative probabilities of constipation-related surgery were 0.7% at 5 years and 0.8% at 10 years after a diagnosis of constipation. Twenty-nine patients (1.3%) developed Parkinson’s disease; the cumulative probabilities were 0.4% at 1 year, 1.0% at 5 years, and 2.6% at 10 years after a diagnosis of constipation. At 10 years, 1.3% of patients with STC required constipation-related surgery and 3.5% of patients with STC developed Parkinson’s disease; in contrast, none of the patients without STC required constipation-related surgery (P = .003), and 1.5% developed Parkinson’s disease (P = .019). In multivariate analysis, patient age of 65 years or older at the diagnosis of constipation (hazard ratio, 4.834; 95% CI, 2.088–11.190) and the presence of STC (hazard ratio, 2.477; 95% CI, 1.046–5.866) were associated independently with the development of Parkinson’s disease. Only 5 patients had a new diagnosis of CRC during the follow-up period. The risk of CRC did not differ significantly between patients with vs without STC (P = .575).


      In a long-term follow-up study of patients with constipation in Korea, most patients had no severe complications. However, patients older than age 65 years with a new diagnosis of STC might be considered for Parkinson’s disease screening.

      Graphical abstract


      Abbreviations used in this paper:

      CRC (colorectal cancer), CTT (colonic transit time study), DD (dyssynergic defecation), IQR (interquartile range), PD (Parkinson’s disease), STC (slow-transit constipation)
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