Background: This study aimed to investigate the awareness and application of ROME IV criteria for functional constipation (FC) in real-world practices and assessed differences between pediatric gastroenterologists (PGs) and general pediatricians. Methods: A total of 239 (47.8%) out of 500 nationwide pediatricians answered a questionnaire for diagnosis and management of pediatric FC; 60 were PGs (75% of total PGs in Korea). Results: A total of 16.6% of pediatricians were aware of the exact ROME IV criteria. Perianal examination and digital rectal examination were practiced less, with a higher tendency among PGs (P < 0.001). Treatment duration was longer among PGs for > 6 months (63.8%) than < 3 months among general pediatricians (59.2%, P < 0.001). Fecal disimpaction and rectal enema were practiced among 78.8% and 58.5% of pediatricians, respectively. High dose medication for initial treatment phase was prescribed by 70.7% of pediatricians, primarily within the first 2 weeks (48.3%). The most commonly prescribed medications in children aged > 1-year were lactulose (59.1%), followed by polyethylene glycol (PEG) 4000 (17.7%), and probiotics (11.8%). Prescription priority significantly differed between PGs and general pediatricians; lactulose or PEG 4000 were most commonly prescribed by PGs (89.7%), and lactulose or probiotics (75.7%) were prescribed by general pediatricians (P < 0.001). For patients aged < 1-year, lactulose (41.6%) and changing formula (31.7%) were commonly prescribed. Most participants recommended diet modification, and PGs more frequently used defecation diary (P = 0.002). Conclusion: Discrepancies between actual practice and Rome IV criteria and between PGs and general pediatricians were observed. This survey may help construct practice guidelines and educational programs for pediatric FC.
- Colonic Diseases, Functional
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