Background /aims: Home-based transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TES) is a novel therapy for children with slow-transit constipation (STC). TES has evolved from a clinic-based to home-based therapy. We aimed to assess the end-users’ responses and views to TES.
Methods TES was self-administered via adhesive electrodes on the abdomen and back (quadripolar stimulation), 60 mins/day for 6 months. Forty STC children/families were assessed by questionnaires (Ethics 30116A) for: rating of the treatment; time consumption; daily routine disruption; feasibility of delivery; symptom improvement, laxatives used; willingness to recommend TES to others and their views on the current device.
Results Thirty-six/40 STC children/families responded (20 males, ages: 3–18 yrs, mean:9 yrs). Symptom improvement developed in 69% (17% in < 3 months, 33% 3–6 months and 19% >6 months). Forty-seven percent of children reduced laxative use with 19% unchanged and 33% unsure about the effect. Seventy-five percent rated the treatment good, while 17% were unsure about this new treatment. Ninety-seven percent would recommend TES to other children with chronic constipation and 67% would purchase a machine for booster treatment if required. All families found the instructions of home TES clear and useful. Problems with use included pad adhesiveness (61%), wire connections (11%) or both (11%). All felt home TES was safe and most had minor disruptions to family routines (parents 6% vs child 28%).
Conclusions This study confirms that home-based TES was safe and well accepted by STC children/families with symptom improvement in 2/3 of these children. There were difficulties with existing device that may be overcome by training.