Clinical guideline: management of gastroparesis

Am J Gastroenterol. 2013 Jan;108(1):18-37; quiz 38. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2012.373. Epub 2012 Nov 13.


This guideline presents recommendations for the evaluation and management of patients with gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is identified in clinical practice through the recognition of the clinical symptoms and documentation of delayed gastric emptying. Symptoms from gastroparesis include nausea, vomiting, early satiety, postprandial fullness, bloating, and upper abdominal pain. Management of gastroparesis should include assessment and correction of nutritional state, relief of symptoms, improvement of gastric emptying and, in diabetics, glycemic control. Patient nutritional state should be managed by oral dietary modifications. If oral intake is not adequate, then enteral nutrition via jejunostomy tube needs to be considered. Parenteral nutrition is rarely required when hydration and nutritional state cannot be maintained. Medical treatment entails use of prokinetic and antiemetic therapies. Current approved treatment options, including metoclopramide and gastric electrical stimulation (GES, approved on a humanitarian device exemption), do not adequately address clinical need. Antiemetics have not been specifically tested in gastroparesis, but they may relieve nausea and vomiting. Other medications aimed at symptom relief include unapproved medications or off-label indications, and include domperidone, erythromycin (primarily over a short term), and centrally acting antidepressants used as symptom modulators. GES may relieve symptoms, including weekly vomiting frequency, and the need for nutritional supplementation, based on open-label studies. Second-line approaches include venting gastrostomy or feeding jejunostomy; intrapyloric botulinum toxin injection was not effective in randomized controlled trials. Most of these treatments are based on open-label treatment trials and small numbers. Partial gastrectomy and pyloroplasty should be used rarely, only in carefully selected patients. Attention should be given to the development of new effective therapies for symptomatic control.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy
  • Antiemetics / therapeutic use
  • Botulinum Toxins / therapeutic use
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diabetes Complications / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Complications / therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diet Therapy
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy
  • Fluid Therapy
  • Gastrectomy
  • Gastric Bypass
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Gastroparesis / diagnosis
  • Gastroparesis / etiology
  • Gastroparesis / therapy*
  • Gastrostomy
  • Humans
  • Neuromuscular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Nutritional Support
  • Pylorus / surgery


  • Antiemetics
  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Neuromuscular Agents
  • Botulinum Toxins