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Surg Clin North Am. 1993 Dec;73(6):1145-60.

Gastric motor physiology and pathophysiology.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Mayo Clinic Postgraduate School of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota.


The stomach has two distinct physiologic motor areas: the proximal stomach and the distal stomach. The proximal stomach, with its slow, sustained contractions, has a key role in regulating intragastric pressure and gastric emptying of liquids, while the distal stomach, with its peristaltic contractions, has a major role in mixing, trituration, and emptying of solids. Diseases and operations that disturb the motility of these two areas can result in unique adverse motor sequelae. For example, operations that impair proximal gastric motility, such as proximal gastric resection, may cause rapid gastric emptying of liquids and subsequent dumping and diarrhea. In contrast, operations that impair distal gastric contractions, such as truncal vagotomy, may cause slow gastric emptying of solids and chronic gastric atony. Knowledge of the physiology of the stomach in health and of the pathophysiology with disease and after operation provides a basis for the successful treatment and prevention of these disorders.

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