The rumination syndrome: Clinical features rather than manometric diagnosis

Michael D. O'Brien, Barbara K. Bruce, Michael Camilleri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Background/Aims: Rumination is infrequent in adults of normal mental capacity. Upper gastrointestinal manometry reportedly confirms the diagnosis. Clinical characteristics, treatment(s), and outcomes of these patients are unclear. Methods: We assessed 38 adults and adolescents with rumination between 1987 and 1994. Esophagogastroduodenal manometric recordings (n = 36; 3-hour fasting and 2-hour postprandially) were reviewed; follow-up information was obtained from mailed questionnaires. Results: Patients saw a mean of five physicians and had symptoms for a mean of 2.75 years before diagnosis. Features included daily, effortless regurgitation of undigested food starting within minutes of meals. Weight loss was substantial (mean, 29 lb) in 42% of patients. Seventeen percent of female patients had a history of bulimia. Manometry confirmed the clinical diagnosis in 33% but was otherwise normal in all. Of 16 patients who responded to our questionnaires of 29 with >6 months of follow-up (average, 35 months), 12 reported subjective improvement. In 14, the behavior persists. Conclusions: The rumination syndrome is underdiagnosed. With typical clinical features, gastroduodenal manometry seems unnecessary to confirm the diagnosis. Diagnosis and reassurance are important in management to avoid unnecessary tests and treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1024-1029
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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