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Pubmed-Exploration of "Zhang" in functional gastrointestinal disorders: A cross-cultural challenge in Chinese clinical setting

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J Dig Dis. 2022 Jul;23(7):388-395. doi: 10.1111/1751-2980.13121.


OBJECTIVES: In China, four symptoms of functional gastrointestinal disorders, postprandial fullness, early satiety, bloating, and abdominal distension are commonly and interchangeably expressed as a single chief complaint, "Zhang". In this study we aimed to explore the most efficient method of determining the characteristics of symptoms in such patients.

METHODS: Consecutive patients with the chief complaint of abdominal "Zhang" from December 2017 to June 2018 were included. Their symptom patterns were determined by face-to-face interviews. Patients with a single symptom (postprandial fullness, early satiety, bloating, or abdominal distension) completed the questionnaire assessing their understanding of the symptoms using three methods including concept terms, pictograms, and verbal descriptions.

RESULTS: A total of 230 patients (121 men, 109 women; mean age 43.7 ± 12.6 y) were included. Verbal descriptions were most applicable to identify patients' symptom patterns, followed by concept terms and pictograms. Early satiety was the most difficult to identify (20.9% agreement between patient's understanding and doctor's diagnosis by using concept term), whereas fullness and bloating had apparently higher recognition (70.7% and 72.1% by concept terms). Elder patients (>60 y) and those with more frequent symptom attacks (≥once daily) showed relatively poorer understanding of the symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Early satiety is poorly identified by patients. Existing pictograms fail to show comprehension-improving features in a Chinese cultural setting. Verbal descriptions may be the best option for diagnosing abdominal "Zhang". More caution is required during the inquiry of medical history from elder patients with frequent symptom attacks.

PMID:36111616 | DOI:10.1111/1751-2980.13121

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