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Diabetic and Nondiabetic Gastroparesis.

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  • 1University of Kansas Medical Center, 3901 Rainbow Boulevard, Kansas City, Kansas 66160.


Nutritional support is essential in treating patients with gastroparesis. Initially, dietary changes should be instituted to reduce extra fat and bulk, and patients should be encouraged to eat frequent small meals with liquid supplementation. Enteral feeding should be introduced in the event of weight loss or persistent vomiting. Medical therapy is usually necessary early in treatment. Cisapride is the initial agent of choice and may be combined with an antiemetic agent, such as promethazine or chlorpromazine or, if side effects occur, ondansetron and granesitron. If cisapride is ineffective or contraindicated, metoclopramide is a reasonable option, though limited by side effects. Erythromycin is useful in the acute treatment of postoperative ileus and hospitalized gastroparetic patients, but its role is limited based on concerns about poor long-term effectiveness and antimicrobial resistance. Once domperidone becomes available in the United States, it will be useful for its promotility and antiemetic qualities. Combination therapy should be considered if monotherapy with cisapride or metoclopramide alone is ineffective. While not yet well studied, combination therapy has the potential to offer dramatic benefit for patients with refractory gastroparesis. Metoclopramide may be added to cisapride for patients with breakthrough symptoms or refractory chronic symptoms. Other combinations include metoclopramide with erythromycin, domperidone with cisapride, and domperidone with erythromycin. In the future, gastric pacing may become an effective option for patients not responding to medical therapy. Total gastrectomy should be performed only for end-stage gastroparesis when all other therapy has failed. Both procedures should be reserved for centers that specialize in severe gastric motility disorders.

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