Demography, clinical characteristics, psychological and abuse profiles, treatment, and long-term follow-up of patients with gastroparesis

Dig Dis Sci. 1998 Nov;43(11):2398-404. doi: 10.1023/a:1026665728213.


Patients with gastroparesis frequently present challenging clinical, diagnostic, and therapeutic problems. Data from 146 gastroparesis patients seen over six years were analyzed. Patients were evaluated at the time of initial diagnosis and at the most recent follow-up in terms of gastric emptying and gastrointestinal symptomatology. The psychological status and physical and sexual abuse history in female idiopathic gastroparesis patients were ascertained and an association between those factors and gastrointestinal symptomatology was sought. Eighty-two percent of patients were females (mean age: 45 years old). The mean age for onset of gastroparesis was 33.7 years. The etiologies in 146 patients are: 36% idiopathic, 29% diabetic, 13% postgastric surgery, 7.5% Parkinson's disease, 4.8% collagen vascular disorders, 4.1% intestinal pseudoobstruction, and 6% miscellaneous causes. Subgroups were identified within the idiopathic group: 12 patients (23%) had a presentation consistent with a viral etiology, 48% had very prominent abdominal pain. Other subgroups were gastroesophageal reflux disease and nonulcer dyspepsia (19%), depression (23%), and onset of symptoms immediately after cholecystectomy (8%). Sixty-two percent of women with idiopathic gastroparesis reported a history of physical or sexual abuse, and physical abuse was significantly associated with abdominal pain, somatization, depression, and lifetime surgeries. At the end of the follow-up period, 74% required continuous prokinetic therapy, 22% were able to stop prokinetics, 5% had undergone gastrectomy, 6.2% went onto gastric electrical stimulation (pacing), and 7% had died. At some point 21% had required nutrition support with a feeding jejunostomy tube or periods of parenteral nutrition. A good response to pharmacological agents can be expected in the viral and dyspeptic subgroups of idiopathics, Parkinson's disease, and the majority of diabetics, whereas a poorer outcome to prokinetics can be expected in postgastrectomy patients, those with connective tissue disease, a subgroup of diabetics, and the subset of idiopathic gastroparesis dominated by abdominal pain and history of physical and sexual abuse. Appreciation of the different etiologies and psychological status of the patients may help predict response to prokinetic therapy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Battered Women*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Demography
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastric Emptying
  • Gastroparesis / diagnosis*
  • Gastroparesis / etiology
  • Gastroparesis / physiopathology
  • Gastroparesis / psychology
  • Gastroparesis / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychometrics
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Time Factors