A patient with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may develop dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract. This may be subclinical and detected only with specialized testing.


Patient selection: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)


Potential gastrointestinal problems:

(1) dysphagia

(2) delayed gastric emptying

(3) delayed colonic transit time with or without clinical constipation

(4) chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction syndrome



(1) vagal dysfunction

(2) autonomic dysfunction


An affected patient may show other signs of autonomic dysfunction such as heart rate variability and a prolonged sympathetic skin response (SSR).


Non-autonomic factors that may contribute to constipation:

(1) dehydration

(2) poor intake of dietary fiber

(3) immobility


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