Electrophysiological study of the rectosigmoid canal: evidence of a rectosigmoid sphincter
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Previous studies strongly suggest the presence of a sphincter at the rectosigmoid junction, an area with a mean length of 2.8 cm in adults, called the rectosigmoid canal (RSC). To find supporting evidence of a sphincteric function for the RSC, two recording electrodes were applied to each of the sigmoid colon (SC). RSC and rectum (R) in 11 subjects during operative repair of huge incisional hernias. The RSC, SC and R were individually stimulated by a further electrode and their pressures monitored by a three-channel microtip catheter. The variables of the slow waves or pacesetter potentials, recorded at rest from the RSC and R, were significantly higher than those of the SC. While the frequency and conduction velocity of pacesetter potentials of the RSC and R were similar, the potential pacesetter amplitude of the RSC was significantly higher. The increase of the electrical activity and pressure upon electrostimulation was significantly greater in the RSC than that of the Sc or R. Electrostimulation led to an increase in pressure of all three areas, the RSC increase being significantly the greatest. The greater increase of the electrical activity and pressure of the rectosigmoid canal upon electrostimulation, compared to that of the SC or R, strongly supports the presence of a rectosigmoid sphincter. Key words action potentials; electrostimulation; pacemaker; pacesetter potentials; slow waves.