Gastric electrical stimulation in intractable symptomatic gastroparesis

Digestion. 2002;66(4):204-12. doi: 10.1159/000068359.


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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Gastric Emptying
  • Gastroparesis / etiology
  • Gastroparesis / physiopathology
  • Gastroparesis / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nausea / therapy
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation
  • Vomiting / therapy
  • Weight Gain