Background & aims: No effective treatment is available for patients with gastroparesis refractory to standard medical therapy. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of gastric pacing on gastric electrical activity, gastric emptying, and symptoms in patients with gastroparesis.
Methods: Nine patients with gastroparesis participated in this study. Four pairs of cardiac pacing wires were implanted on the serosa of the stomach. The protocol consisted of two portions: a temporary inpatient study period and an outpatient study for a period of 1 month or more.
Results: Gastric pacing entrained the gastric slow wave in all subjects and converted tachygastria in 2 patients into regular 3-cpm slow waves. Gastric emptying was significantly improved after the outpatient treatment with gastric pacing. The gastric retention at 2 hours was reduced from 77.0% +/- 3.3% to 56.6% +/- 8.6% (P < 0.05). Symptoms of gastroparesis were substantially reduced at the end of the outpatient treatment (1.51 +/- 0.46 vs. 2.84 +/- 0.61; P < 0.04). Eight of 9 patients no longer relied on jejunostomy tube feeding, and no adverse events were noted related to the pacing unit.
Conclusions: Gastric pacing seems to be able to improve symptoms of gastroparesis and to accelerate gastric emptying in patients with gastroparesis. More controlled studies are necessary to further investigate the role of gastric pacing in clinical practice.