ABSTRACT: Cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) is a condition characterized by recurrent, stereotyped, attacks of intense nausea and intractable vomiting with no identifiable cause. The diagnosis is made according to the Rome III criteria; however, the condition remains a heterogenous group of symptoms and few studies have analysed patient-reported features in detail. Tricyclic antidepressants may benefit some patients, but there are no data on the long-term outcomes of this condition.
This is a retrospective cohort study of all patients treated at two London teaching hospitals between 1994 and 2011. Information was obtained by means of inpatient case notes, clinic letters and telephone interviews using a standardized questionnaire.
Twenty-eight patients were identified, 17 with adult-onset CVS and 11 with childhood-onset CVS. In the adult-onset CVS cohort, the average age of onset was 30 years; the prevalence of headache was 57.1% and anxiety/depression 21.7%. Vomiting attacks occurred on average 10 times a year with a mean duration of 55.3 h. In the childhood-onset CVS cohort, the average age of onset was 5 years and the prevalence of headaches was 44.4%. Vomiting attacks occurred on average 25.5 times a year with a mean duration of 54.5 h. During acute attacks, patients rated morphine-based medications as the most efficacious. Overall, 65.4% of our patients were not treated with long-term prophylactic medications and, of these, 42.1% felt that their symptoms had improved and 26.3% reported complete resolution.
CVS is a debilitating illness with frequent attacks of prolonged duration. There is a high association with anxiety/depression as well as headaches. Antimigraine medication, β-blockers and antiepileptic treatment may be successful at attenuating attacks; however, in this long-term study, the prognosis of patients not treated with these medications was also good. Overall, 61.9% of patients showed a gradual improvement in symptoms and 23.8% had complete resolution after a mean of 7 years.
European journal of gastroenterology & hepatology 05/2012; 24(8):939-43. · 1.66 Impact Factor