Pathophysiology and management of gastroparesis

Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009 Apr;3(2):167-81. doi: 10.1586/egh.09.10.


Gastroparesis is characterized by upper gastrointestinal symptoms associated with delayed gastric emptying, without mechanical obstruction. However, symptoms do not correlate well with the magnitude of delay in gastric emptying. Diabetes mellitus and surgery are the most common causes, although more than 30% of cases are idiopathic. Coordination of insulin action with nutrient delivery is important in diabetics, as postprandial blood glucose levels and gastric emptying are interdependent, and gastroparesis probably represents a major cause of poor glycemic control. Scintigraphy is the gold standard for measuring gastric emptying. Current treatment mainly involves the use of prokinetic drugs. Pyloric botulinum toxin injection and gastric electrical stimulation require more evidence from controlled studies before their use can be recommended. Surgical options remain inadequately studied.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Complications / complications
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Gastric Emptying / physiology
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Gastroparesis / etiology
  • Gastroparesis / physiopathology*
  • Gastroparesis / therapy*
  • Humans


  • Gastrointestinal Agents