Gastric electrical stimulation for medically refractory gastroparesis

Thomas Abell, Richard W. McCallum, Michael Hocking, Kenneth Koch, Hasse Abrahamsson, Isabelle Leblanc, Greger Lindberg, Jan Konturek, Thomas Nowak, Eammon M M Quigley, Gervais Tougas, Warren Starkebaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

466 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: This study investigated the efficacy of gastric electrical stimulation for the treatment of symptomatic gastroparesis unresponsive to standard medical therapy. Methods: Thirty-three patients with chronic gastroparesis (17 diabetic and 16 idiopathic) received continuous high-frequency/low-energy gastric electrical stimulation via electrodes in the muscle wall of the antrum connected to a neurostimulator in an abdominal wall pocket. After implantation, patients were randomized in a double-blind crossover design to stimulation ON or OFF for 1-month periods. The blind was then broken, and all patients were programmed to stimulation ON and evaluated at 6 and 12 months. Outcome measures were vomiting frequency, preference for ON or OFF, upper gastrointestinal tract symptoms, quality of life, gastric emptying, and adverse events. Results: In the double-blind portion of the study, self-reported vomiting frequency was significantly reduced in the ON vs. OFF period (P < 0.05) and this symptomatic improvement was consistent with the significant patient preference (P < 0.05) for the ON vs. OFF period determined before breaking the blind. In the unblinded portion of the study, vomiting frequency decreased significantly (P < 0.05) at 6 and 12 months. Scores for symptom severity and quality of life significantly improved (P < 0.05) at 6 and 12 months, whereas gastric emptying was only modestly accelerated. Five patients had their gastric electrical stimulation system explanted or revised because of infection or other complications. Conclusions: High-frequency/low-energy gastric electrical stimulation significantly decreased vomiting frequency and gastrointestinal symptoms and improved quality of life in patients with severe gastroparesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-428
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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