Gastroenterology. 2022 Jan;162(1):68-87.e1. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2021.10.028. Epub 2021 Oct 27.


Gastroparesis is characterized by symptoms suggestive of, and objective evidence of, delayed gastric emptying in the absence of mechanical obstruction. This review addresses the normal emptying of solids and liquids from the stomach and details the myogenic and neuromuscular control mechanisms, including the specialized function of the pyloric sphincter, that result in normal emptying, based predominantly on animal research. A clear understanding of fundamental mechanisms is necessary to comprehend derangements leading to gastroparesis, and additional research on human gastric muscles is needed. The section on pathophysiology of gastroparesis considers neuromuscular diseases that affect nonsphincteric gastric muscle, disorders of the extrinsic neural control, and pyloric dysfunction that lead to gastroparesis. The potential cellular basis for gastroparesis is attributed to the effects of oxidative stress and inflammation, with increased pro-inflammatory and decreased resident macrophages, as observed in full-thickness biopsies from patients with gastroparesis. Predominant diagnostic tests involving measurements of gastric emptying, the use of a functional luminal imaging probe, and high-resolution antral duodenal manometry in characterizing the abnormal motor functions at the gastroduodenal junction are discussed. Management is based on supporting nutrition; dietary interventions, including the physical reduction in particle size of solid foods; pharmacological agents, including prokinetics and anti-emetics; and interventions such as gastric electrical stimulation and pyloromyotomy. These are discussed briefly, and comment is added on the potential for individualized treatments in the future, based on optimal gastric emptying measurement and objective documentation of the underlying pathophysiology causing the gastroparesis.

Keywords: Gastric Accommodation; Gastric Emptying; Gastroparesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Enteric Nervous System / physiopathology*
  • Gastric Emptying*
  • Gastroparesis / diagnosis
  • Gastroparesis / physiopathology*
  • Gastroparesis / therapy
  • Humans
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pylorus / innervation*
  • Treatment Outcome