Introduction: Patients with symptoms (Sx) of gastrointestinal (GI) motor disorders have limitations in physical strength and mobility. We hypothesized that physical frailty correlated with severity of GI symptoms, and that a motility frailty index (MFI) could be constructed. Patients: We conducted a prospective pilot study on 40 patients, (38 F, 2 M, mean age 39.9 years) with the following diagnoses: 10 with diabetes mellitus and 30 with non-diabetic/idiopathic disorders. Upper and lower GI Sx were quantified using an FDA-compliant, traditional patient-reported outcomes (PRO) system. Methods: Patients underwent a series of physical performance measures involving standing balance (SB), usual walk speed (UW), and chair sit-and-stands (CS). A GI motility frailty index (MFI) was constructed by fitting several models with a combination of physical performance measures and correlating with PRO. Pearson’s correlation compared the constructed index with the GI Sx PRO to construct a GI MFI. Results: The studied patients collectively showed marked limitations in mobility compared with standard performance values with mean (sd) ratios of SB = 0.87 (0.20), UW = 0.45 (0.13), and CS = 0.38 (0.17). Correlations between physical mobility and GI Sx were noted for upper GI Sx (rho = 0.47, p
= 0.002) but not for lower GI Sx. Conclusions: In this pilot study of patients with GI motility disorders, we found increased physical limitations on performance-based testing, which had a statistically significant positive correlation with severity of upper GI motor Sx using a standardized PRO system. A motility frailty index has been constructed that may serve as a basis for better quantifying limitations in patient mobility.
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