Background: Gastric electrical stimulation (GES) improves symptoms in diabetic gastroparesis (DM GP) refractory to medical therapies but does not increase gastric emptying (GE). This study investigates the clinical outcomes of GES combined with pyloroplasty (PP) to improve GE as well as the pathophysiological characteristics of the responding patients.

Methods: Overall 39 DM (13 type I) GP patients with 16.6 (range 3-50) years of DM had GES with PP. Antral and pyloric biopsies were assessed for interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) status. Depletion of ICC was defined as <10 cells/HPF. GE scintigraphy (normal <60% retention at 2h or <10% at 4 h) was performed, and GP total symptoms score (TTS) of vomiting, nausea, early satiety, bloating, fullness and epigastric pain was assessed with a 5-point Likert scale pre and post-surgery.

Results: The 39 patients, (23F) mean age 45 (25-83) years, mean 5.2 years of GP symptoms, were enrolled. TSS improvement after mean follow up of 17 (1-42) months post-surgery was 62% (19.1±3.4) vs.(7.6±6.2), while almost 70% of patients improved TTS by ≥60%. GE at 2h improved from 77% to 45%, and from 55% to 20% at 4h while 47% completely normalized their GE. Both DM1 and DM2 patients responded with improved TSS and GE. Antral ICC were depleted in 28% of DM GP with a mean number of 12 (±5.2)/HPF, while 70% of patients had <10 pyloric ICC with mean 7.4(±5.0)/HPF. Patients with <10 pyloric ICC had a 64% improvement in TSS vs. 41% if pyloric ICC was ≥10/HPF.

Conclusion: DM GP patients treated by combining GES and PP show significant symptomatic improvement with accelerated and often normalized GE. Patients with depleted pyloric ICC were the most improved, emphasizing the key role of the pylorus in GP, and explains why adding PP to GES addresses the specific pathophysiological challenges in severe diabetic GP.


T. Bright: None. I. Sarosiek: None. A. Shanker: None. B.R. Davis: None. O. Padilla: None. J.R. Diaz: None. K. Espino: None. R.M. McCallum: None.

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