Factors Associated With Response to Biofeedback Therapy for Dyssynergic Defecation

Tanisa Patcharatrakul, Jessica Valestin, Amanda Schmeltz, Konrad Schulze, Satish S.C. Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Biofeedback therapy is effective for dyssynergic defecation (DD), but it is not widely available or reimbursed, and is labor intensive. It is therefore important to select the appropriate patients for this treatment. We investigated symptoms and demographic, manometric, and other factors associated with outcomes of biofeedback therapy in patients with DD. Methods: We performed a post hoc analysis of 2 prospective studies of biofeedback therapy in 127 adult outpatients (18–75 years old, 120 female) with chronic constipation who failed to respond to treatment with dietary fiber or laxatives (>1 year) and were diagnosed with DD based on standard criteria. In each study, patients received 1-hour, biweekly office biofeedback therapy (6 sessions) or home biofeedback therapy with a device. A therapist used visual feedback, postural, and diaphragmatic breathing techniques to teach subjects to improve defecation. Treatment success was defined by a composite of normalization of dyssynergia pattern and increase of 20 mm in baseline bowel satisfaction score. Factors were compared between the treatment success and failure groups. Intention-to-treat analysis was performed. Results: Of the 127 patients enrolled, 77 (61%) had treatment success. Dyssynergia was corrected in 78% of patients and bowel satisfaction improved in 64% of patients. Baseline demographic features, constipation symptoms, manometric and sensory parameters, balloon expulsion time, and colonic transit results were similar between treatment failure and success groups. Patients with lower baseline bowel satisfaction score (P =.008) and patients who used digital maneuvers (P =.04) were more likely to have successful biofeedback therapy. Conclusions: Biofeedback therapy is successful in more than 60% of patients with DD. Patients who used digital maneuvers and patients with lower baseline levels of bowel satisfaction were more likely to have treatment success, whereas other factors were not associated with success. Biofeedback therapy should be offered to all patients with DD, irrespective of baseline symptoms or anorectal physiology findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)715-721
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Behavioral Therapy
  • Clinic Trial
  • Constipation
  • Pelvic Floor Disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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