Postoperative delayed gastric emptying (DGE) is a frustrating complication of pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD). We studied whether monitoring of postoperative gastric motor activity using a novel wireless patch system can identify patients at risk for DGE. Patients ( n = 81) were prospectively studied since 2016; 75 patients total were analyzed for this study. After PD, battery-operated wireless patches (G-Tech Medical) that acquire gastrointestinal myoelectrical signals are placed on the abdomen and transmit data by Bluetooth. Patients were divided into early and late groups by diet tolerance of 7 days [enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) goal]. Subgroup analysis was done of patients included after ERAS initiation. The early and late groups had 50 and 25 patients, respectively, with a length of stay (LOS) of 7 and 11 days ( P < 0.05). Nasogastric insertion was required in 44% of the late group. Tolerance of food was noted by 6 versus 9 days in the early versus late group ( P < 0.05) with higher cumulative gastric myoelectrical activity. Diminished gastric myoelectrical activity accurately identified delayed tolerance to regular diet in a logistical regression analysis [area under the curve (AUC): 0.81; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.74-0.92]. The gastric myoelectrical activity also identified a delayed LOS status with an AUC of 0.75 (95% CI, 0.67-0.88). This stomach signal continued to be predictive in 90% of the ERAS cohort, despite earlier oral intake. Measurement of gastric activity after PD can distinguish patients with shorter or longer times to diet. This noninvasive technology provides data to identify patients at risk for DGE and may guide the timing of oral intake by gastric "readiness." NEW & NOTEWORTHY Limited clinical indicators exist after pancreaticoduodenectomy to allow prediction of delayed gastric emptying (DGE). This study introduces a novel, noninvasive, wireless patch system capable of accurately monitoring gastric myoelectric activity after surgery. This system can differentiate patients with longer or shorter times to a regular diet as well as provide objective data to identify patients at risk for DGE. This technology has the potential to individualize feeding regimens based on gastric activity patterns to improve outcomes.
Keywords: delayed gastric emptying; enhanced recovery after surgery; gastric myoelectric activity; gastric technology; gastroparesis.