Motility Center :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Motility Center

Suffering from motility problems, which can result in chronic abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal distension and difficulty swallowing, can be emotionally difficult for both parents and children. It is often difficult to understand the diagnosis and treatment of motility disorders.

Children who suffer from motility problems frequently undergo countless and often invasive tests and procedures to determine a proper diagnosis and treatment. Many times, these tests provide no explanation for the symptoms.  

Our Motility Team is expert in caring for children with motility disorders because:

  • Our specialists are considered among the best in the world in diagnosing and treating pediatric gastrointestinal motility disorders.

  • We use advanced diagnostic techniques that are only offered a few places in the world.

  • We treat patients using a comprehensive biopsychosocial approach.

  • We are committed to research to uncover new, more effective treatment options.

Families travel from across the country and internationally to receive care from our experts in pediatric gastrointestinal motility disorders. These unique physicians specialize in the evaluation and management of previously unexplained causes of pediatric gastrointestinal dysmotility.

From behavioral-related motility problems to complex gastrointestinal disorders, our specialists are pioneering innovative tests and treatments to both help families understand the reasons for their children’s symptoms and give them new hope in the ongoing pursuit of treating childhood digestive disorders. Examples of leading, innovative approaches include the implantation of a gastric pacemaker to treat for chronic gastroparesis, and sacral nerve stimulation, an advanced therapy that provides hope for children experiencing severe bowel or urinary incontinence.

They use a comprehensive biopsychosocial approach, which includes a child psychologist, dietitian and social worker, to care for children with complex GI neuromuscular disorders, including chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction, Hirschsprung's disease, gastroparesis and severe chronic constipation.

Children are diagnosed through the team's use of advanced motility testing including manometry, esophageal impedance, electrogastrography and electronic barostat. These specialized techniques study how the intestine moves, contracts and relaxes. They also can measure intestinal perception, including the threshold for discomfort and pain from the intestine.

Wireless Motility Capsule Less Invasive Option for Pediatric Patients

Already used for the diagnosis of digestive problems in adults, wireless motility capsules—tiny data recorders that collect information on how food moves through the gut—may also offer an informative and noninvasive diagnostic option for children with gastrointestinal motility disorders, a new study suggests. Read more

Meet Our Patients



Emma was in her usual state of health until she was first evaluated for persistent vomiting with feeding intolerance at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Emma was found to have delayed gastric emptying—gastroparesis. Gastrojejunal (GJ) feedings were initiated but she continued to have persistent vomiting and bloating. Her condition kept her from attending school and left her with little social life, because she was constantly vomiting, and extremely bloated. She spent most of her 9th grade year in a home schooling program so she could keep up with her peers scholastically. During that time she was continually in and out of the hospital. Emma subsequently failed therapeutic trials using metoclopromide, erythromycin, tegaserod, and ondansetron, and was referred to Nationwide Children’s.
  [read more...]

After extensive testing and other therapeutic approaches, Emma became a candidate for gastric electrical stimulation therapy–the GI pacemaker. The team at Nationwide Children’s met with Emma’s family and discussed the therapy. She and her family were very excited about the possible benefits, so surgeons implanted the pacemaker. Emma recovered well from the surgery. Emma states that, “Things are improving, but there is still a journey to be had here.”

Follow Emma’s online journal and watch her vlogs.

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Featured Physician

Carlo Di Lorenzo, MD Carlo
Di Lorenzo,
MD, Chief

Dr. Di Lorenzo is the Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Nationwide Children's Hospital and is named among the “Best Doctors in America".

Learn more here »

Featured Physician

Desalen Yacob, MD Desale Yacob, MD, Medical Director

Dr. Yacob is an attending pediatric gastroenterologist at Nationwide Children’s and is named among the “Best Doctors in America".

Learn more here »

featured video

Carlo Di Lorenzo, MD on the Gastric Pacemaker
Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000