Five otherwise healthy young adults with a syndrome of recurrent intermittent gastric atony have been described. Symptomatic periods characterized by severe nausea, early satiety, and abdominal bloating alternated with asymptomatic intervals. During symptomatic phases upper gastrointestinal barium contrast radiographs demonstrated gastric dilatation with atony but without obstruction. At other times, the symptoms would disappear, and gastric size, motility, and emptying would appear normal. Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy confirmed gastric atony and showed no mucosal abnormalities or gastric outlet obstruction. No pathogenic factors were detected, and the gastroparesis was unassociated with any motility disorder of the esophagus, small bowel, or colon. Thus, it differed from other recognized forms of visceral pseudoobstruction. Because of failed medical treatment, four patients were treated with antrectomy, gastrojejunostomy, and truncal vagotomy to allow passive emptying of the stomach by gravity. All four surgically treated patients improved greatly. Idiopathic intermittent gastroparesis is a distinct clinical syndrome that can be successfully treated by surgical means in severe cases.