Evaluation of constipation in older adults: Radioopaque markers (ROMs) versus wireless motility capsule (WMC)

S. S.C. Rao, E. Coss-Adame, J. Valestin, K. Mysore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


There is scarce information regarding assessment of constipation in older subjects. We examined regional and whole-gut transit time (WGTT) with wireless motility capsule (WMC) and compared this with radioopaque markers (ROM) transit. 39 constipated and 11 healthy older subjects (≥65 years) ingested a ROM capsule and WMC, wore a data receiver and kept stool diaries for 5 days. WMC recordings were analyzed for colonic transit time (CTT), WGTT and gastric emptying time (GET). Radiographs obtained on day 5 assessed ROM transit. Results for each device were compared. The CTT (p= <0.0001), WGTT (p= <0.001) and GET (p= <0.04) as measured by WMC were all slower in constipated subjects compared to healthy subjects. ROM colonic transit was also slower (p= <0.007) in constipated compared to healthy subjects. The diagnostic utility for identifying subjects with constipation as assessed by receiver operating characteristics were similar; 0.85 (WMC) versus 0.73 (ROM). Device agreement for slow colonic transit was 88% with good correlation between WMC and ROM (CTT r= 0.718, p= 0.0001, WGTT r= 0.693, p= 0.0001). Slow transit constipation was identified in 28% with ROM and 32% with WMC. No adverse events were recorded. WMC is a safe and useful device that provides objective diagnosis of delayed colonic and whole gut transit in older constipated adults. It is a radiation-free, physiologic and ambulatory technique that provides additional diagnostic information than ROM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-294
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Constipation
  • Older adults
  • Radio-opaque marker
  • WMC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Aging
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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