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Dig Dis Sci. 1999 May;44(5):927-31.

Gastric myoelectrical activity in patients with Parkinson's disease: evidence of a primary gastric abnormality.

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  • 1University of Kansas Medical Center, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Kansas City 66160-7350, USA.


Parkinson's disease patients may experience various gastrointestinal symptoms; however, the exact pathophysiology of these symptoms is not fully understood. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the pattern of gastric myoelectrical activity in patients with Parkinson's disease. Eleven patients with Parkinson's disease and 10 healthy subjects participated in the study. Patients were stratified as "receiving dopaminergic therapy" (N = 5) and "off therapy" (N = 6). Gastric myoelectrical activity was measured by means of surface electrogastrography (EGG) for 30 min before and for 90 min after a standardized meal. The dominant frequency, postprandial EGG power change, and the percentage of normal 2-4 cycles/min (cpm) slow-wave activity in the three groups were calculated and compared. The mean postprandial EGG power increase in the untreated patients was smaller than in the treated patients (-3.11 +/- 1.01 and 1.17 +/- 1.96 dB; P = 0.072). Moreover, both of these values were significantly decreased when compared to the control group (untreated vs control: -3.11 +/- 1.01 vs 8.01 +/- 1.86 dB; P = 0.04 and treated vs control: 1.17 +/- 1.96 vs 8.01 +/- 1.86 dB; P = 0.02). The percentage of normal 2-4 cpm slow waves in untreated patients was not different from the treated patients (82.6 +/- 6.6% vs 75.8 +/- 13.6%, P = NS) or from the control group (88.2 +/- 5.4%, P = NS). The dominant frequency after the meal was similar to that in the fasting state both in the untreated (3.3 +/- 0.1 vs 3.2 +/- 0.2 cpm; P = NS) and treated patients (3.2 +/- 0.1 vs 3.1 +/- 0.1 cpm, P = NS), whereas the dominant frequency significantly increased postprandially in the control group (2.88 +/- 0.12 vs 3.05 +/- 0.16; P < 0.05). Abnormalities in gastric myoelectrical activity in untreated Parkinson's disease patients reflect direct involvement of the gastrointestinal tract by the primary disease process. EGG can be regarded as a useful diagnostic tool in evaluating gastrointestinal involvement in neurodegenerative diseases.

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