Clinical Pearl of the Day: Gastroparesis

In patients with gastroparesis, the stomach's motility is slowed down or doesn't work at all, preventing proper emptying.

Clinical Pearl of the Day: Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis is a condition that affects the normal spontaneous movement of the muscles (motility) in the stomach.

Insight:

  • The strong muscular contractions propel food through the digestive tract. But in patients with gastroparesis, the stomach's motility is slowed down or doesn't work at all, preventing proper emptying.
  • Causes of gastroparesis is usually unknown. Sometimes it's a complication of diabetes and some people develop gastroparesis after surgery.
  • Certain medications, such as opioid pain relievers, some antidepressants, high blood pressure medications, and allergy medications can lead to slow gastric emptying and cause similar symptoms.
  • Symptoms may include vomiting, nausea, abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, a feeling of fullness, acid reflux, lack of appetite, and weight loss.
  • Risk factors may include diabetes, abdominal surgery, scleroderma, and hypothyroidism.
  • Diagnosis may include scintigraphy, and breath tests.
  • Treatment may include changes in the diet, drinking extra fluids, taking medications that stimulate the stomach muscles, such as metoclopramide (Reglan), and erythromycin. Also, the patients can be prescribed medications for nausea and vomiting, including diphenhydramine (Benadryl), ondansetron (Zofran), and prochlorperazine (Compro).

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