Author(s): Tang DM, Friedenberg FK
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Abstract Gastroparesis is a chronic motility disorder of the stomach that involves delayed emptying of solids and liquids, without evidence of mechanical obstruction. Although no cause can be determined for the majority of cases, the disease often develops as a complication of abdominal surgeries or because of other underlying disorders, such as diabetes mellitus or scleroderma. The pathophysiology behind delayed gastric emptying is still not well-understood, but encompasses abnormalities at 3 levels--autonomic nervous system, smooth muscle cells, and enteric neurons. Patients will often cite nausea, vomiting, postprandial fullness, and early satiety as their most bothersome symptoms on history and physical examination. Those that present with severe disease may already have developed complications, such as the formation of bezoars or masses of undigested food. In patients suspected of gastroparesis, diagnostic evaluation requires an initial upper endoscopy to rule out mechanical causes, followed by a gastric-emptying scintigraphy for diagnosis. Other diagnostic alternatives would be wireless capsule motility, antroduodenal manometry, and breath testing. Once gastroparesis is diagnosed, dietary modifications, such as the recommendation of more frequent and more liquid-based meals, are encouraged. Promotility medications like erythromycin and antiemetics like prochlorperazine are offered for symptomatic relief. These agents may be frequently changed, as the right combination of effective medications will vary with each individual. In patients who are refractory to pharmacologic treatment, more invasive options, such as intrapyloric botulinum toxin injections, placement of a jejunostomy tube, or implantation of a gastric stimulator, are considered. Future areas of research are based on current findings from clinical studies. New medications, such as hemin therapy, are emerging because of a better understanding of the pathophysiology behind gastroparesis, and present treatment options, such as gastric electric stimulation, are evolving to be more effective. Regenerative medicine and stem cell-based therapies also hold promise for gastroparesis in the near future. Published by Mosby, Inc.
This article was published in Dis Mon
and referenced in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism