Gastric electrical stimulation for gastroparesis improves nutritional parameters at short, intermediate, and long-term follow-up

Thomas Abell, Jean Lou, Mumtaz Tabbaa, Oscar Batista, Scott Malinowski, Amar Al-Juburi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Background: Nutritional depletion, either macronutrient- or micronutrient-related, is common in patients with drug-refractory gastroparesis (GP) for which there is often no effective treatment. We studied a group of 12 patients (4 men, 8 women; mean age, 35.7 years) who had symptoms of GP and were a subset of the Gastric Electro-Mechanical Stimulation trial of gastric electrical stimulation. Patients' symptoms were of long duration (7.3 years) and associated with diabetes mellitus (3 patients) or were idiopathic (9 patients) as etiology. Methods: The patients had permanent gastric electrical stimulation devices surgically implanted after a positive trial of temporary stimulation. Patients had baseline measures of gastrointestinal total symptom score (TSS), laboratory (albumin and related) measures, weight (kg), body mass index, and route of nutrition: oral feeding, enteral tubes, or hyperalimentation, repeated at 3, 6, and 12 months. Intermediate-term follow-up was done at 1 to 2 years, and long-term follow-up was done at 5 years and included gastrointestinal TSS, weekly vomiting frequency score, and nutrition and overall health-related quality-of-life measures. Results: Gastric electrical stimulation was associated with rapid improvement over the short-term in TSS (35.6 at baseline to 16.6 at month 12; p < .05), body weight, body mass index, and serum albumin over the short term with most parameters improving by 3 to 6 months. Intermediate (1 to 2 years) and long-term (5 year) data showed continued improvement in TSS, vomiting frequency (weekly vomiting frequency score 3.9 at baseline to 1.7 at 5 years; p < .01), quality-of-life measures, and maintenance of weight gain. Conclusions: Gastric electrical stimulation implantation resulted in improvement of nutritional parameters throughout the first 12 months, as nausea and vomiting decreased and oral intake increased. This improvement in nutritional measures is maintained long term and is associated with improvements in quality of life. Gastric electrical stimulation should be considered as a therapeutic option for any patients with refractory GP and nutritional compromise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-281
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science


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