Similarities and differences between diabetic and idiopathic gastroparesis

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2011 Dec;9(12):1056-64; quiz e133-4. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2011.08.013. Epub 2011 Aug 24.


Background & aims: Gastroparesis can be diabetic or idiopathic, yet little is known about differences in their presentation. We compared clinical characteristics, symptoms, and gastric emptying in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetic (DG) or idiopathic (IG) gastroparesis.

Methods: We analyzed data from 416 patients with gastroparesis who were enrolled in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Gastroparesis Registry; 254 had IG (most were female and white), and 137 had DG (78 had type 1 and 59 had type 2). Registry data included detailed histories, physical examinations, results from gastric emptying scintigraphy, and responses to validated symptom questionnaires.

Results: Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) were an average of 13 years older at the onset of symptoms of gastroparesis and heavier than patients with IG. Patients with type 1 DM had more hospitalizations in the past year than patients with IG. Symptoms that prompted evaluation more often included vomiting for DG and abdominal pain for IG. Patients with DG had more severe retching and vomiting than those with IG, whereas patients with IG had more severe early satiety and postprandial fullness subscores. Compared with IG, gastric retention was greater in patients with type 1 DM. More than 50% of patients with type 1 DM had severe retention (>35% at 4 hours); they took prokinetic agents more frequently and were more likely to receive gastric electric stimulation.

Conclusions: There are similarities and differences in clinical characteristics of DG and IG. Gastroparesis is a heterogeneous disorder; its etiology affects symptoms and severity. Long-term studies are needed to determine whether the differences in symptoms and gastric emptying affect progression and treatment responses.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diabetes Complications / pathology*
  • Diabetes Complications / physiopathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Female
  • Gastric Emptying / physiology
  • Gastroparesis / etiology
  • Gastroparesis / pathology*
  • Gastroparesis / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult