The purpose of this study is to determine whether the addition of Biofeedback-Assisted
Relaxation to standard medication treatment improves outcomes for children with a specific
type of recurrent abdominal pain (i.e., eosinophilic gastroenteritis).
Recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) is the most common type of pain in school age children and
young adolescents. Previous studies suggest that stress plays an important role in the
activation of specific cells that can produce pain within the stomach and intestines.
Medication is the standard approach to the treatment of RAP in children. Although medication
is helpful for many children, medication alone is not always enough. Biofeedback trains
individuals to use relaxation strategies effectively to relieve emotional and physical
symptoms, and has been used successfully for stress and pain reduction with both children
and adults. It has shown promising results when used alone in the treatment of children with
RAP. Research is needed, however, to determine whether biofeedback training is helpful when
used in conjunction with medication. Information about how biofeedback training affects the
central nervous system and the cells that produce pain also would be useful in refining
treatments for this large group of children. The current research will be done in three
steps, with Phase 1 designed to evaluate the time, resources, technical support, and sample
size needed for successful completion of the full research study. Twenty children (ages
8-18) with eosinophilic duodenitis, a specific form of RAP, will be enrolled and randomly
assigned to one of two groups: 1) Standard of Care; or 2) Biofeedback (standard medical care
plus 10 sessions of biofeedback training). Measures of pain, functional disability, quality
of life, physiological arousal, and global treatment response will be collected pre- and
post-intervention, as well as 3 and 6 months later. Data collected will be used to determine
how many participants will be needed for the full research study. If biofeedback training is
ultimately found to be a positive addition to standard medical treatment, this could lead to
improved health outcomes for children with RAP. This information also could result in
greater treatment efficiency and reduced health care costs for families, insurance
providers, and the hospital system.
- A current diagnosis of eosinophilic duodenitis per biopsy.
- Ability to participate in the biofeedback training protocol.
- Transportation available to attend twice weekly visits to Children's Mercy Hospital
- Previous biofeedback training.
- Previous failure of medications used as standard of care in this study.
- Allergy to medications prescribed in this study.
- Co-morbid chronic illness requiring regular medical care.