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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Nutrition & Wellness Channel
Reported September 20, 2005

Alternative Treatment for Gastroparesis

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Patients with severe gastric dysfunction have a new option to relieve their condition, according to a new study.

Gastroparesis is a nerve disorder in which the stomach takes too long to empty its contents. The condition often causes nausea and vomiting and can result in persistent heartburn and pain. While the cause is often unknown, diabetes is one of the main risk factors, and the gastroparesis can exacerbate the diabetes by causing a rise in blood sugar levels. In severe cases gastric resection is recommended.

Researchers from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, identified 29 patients who were referred for a gastrectomy but instead chose to try gastric electric stimulation. These individuals were vomiting at least seven times a week for more than a year, were unsuccessful with drug treatment, and had confirmed delayed gastric emptying. Twenty-four of the patients had type 1 diabetes.

In 19 of the 27 patients evaluated, symptom control was rated as excellent to good, and nutritional support was no longer needed on all 19 patients who had required it prior to treatment. Body mass index improved, as did the gastric emptying rate. Four patients required additional procedures due to poor outcome by three of them.

Lead researcher Rodney Mason, M.D., Ph.D., says there are three primary groups of individuals who should be considered for this procedure. These are: patients who do not respond to medications and have daily nausea and vomiting and the inability to maintain nutrition, those who continue to have gastric motor dysfunction and arrhythmias causing the stoppage of food and pain, and patients who have additional complications from the condition.

Researchers say GES is a "simple and effective procedure with low morbidity and mortality and should be considered as an alternative to gastrectomy in patients with end-stage gastric dysfunction."

This article was reported by, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: /newsalert/.

SOURCE: Archives of Surgery, 2005;140:841-848

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