Gastric Electrical Stimulation in Intractable Symptomatic Gastroparesis
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BACKGROUND: The treatment of gastroparesis remains unsatisfactory despite prokinetic and anti-emetic drugs. Gastric electrical stimulation has been proposed as a therapeutic option. We have assessed the effect of gastric electrical stimulation on symptoms, medical treatment, body weight and gastric emptying in patients with intractable symptomatic gastroparesis in a non-placebo-controlled study. METHODS: In this multicenter study, 38 highly symptomatic patients with drug-refractory gastroparesis were enrolled. Patients first received temporary electrical stimulation using percutaneous electrodes. The 33 responders to temporary stimulation then underwent surgical implantation of a permanent stimulator. Severity of vomiting and nausea was assessed before and after stimulation. Patients were reassessed 3, 6, and 12 months after permanent implantation. RESULTS: With stimulation, 35/38 patients (97%) experienced >80% reduction in vomiting and nausea. This effect persisted throughout the observation period (2.9-15.6 months, 341 patient-months). Gastric emptying did not initially change, but improved in most patients at 12 months. At 1 year, the average weight gain was 5.5% and 9/14 patients initially receiving enteral or parenteral nutrition were able to discontinue it. CONCLUSION: Electrical stimulation of the stomach has an immediate and potent anti-emetic effect. It offers a safe and effective alternative for patients with intractable symptomatic gastroparesis.
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