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Semin Gastrointest Dis. 1996 Oct;7(4):185-95.

Functional disorders of the stomach.

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M.S. Hershey Medical Center, College of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, PA 17033, USA.


Disorders of stomach function refer to neuromuscular abnormalities of gastric motility that involve the fundus, corpus, antrum, pylorus, and antroduodenal coordination. Symptoms related to disorders of stomach function are commonly meal-related; "dyspepsia" symptoms of epigastric fullness; or bloating, discomfort, and nausea in the postprandial period. Early satiety and prolonged stomach fullness are often present, and in severe cases the patient may vomit undigested food. Neuromuscular disorders of stomach function should not be considered until structural and metabolic diseases that may also cause these nonspecific symptoms are excluded. A thorough history, routine laboratory studies, ultrasound of the gallbladder and pancreas, and upper endoscopy will exclude the majority of diseases that may cause dyspepsia symptoms. Disorders of gastric neuromuscular function may be detected by solid-phase gastric emptying studies which detect gastroparesis and by electrogastrography which detects abnormalities of gastric myoelectrical activity termed gastric dysrhythmias. Invasive tests to determine abnormalities in gastric motility include intraluminal pressure and gastric tone/compliance recordings. Treatment approaches are limited at the present time and include dietary counseling and gastroprokinetic agents such as metoclopromide, cisapride, and erythromycin. Increased understanding of the pathophysiology of disorders of gastric neuromuscular function will lead to an improved and more rational armamentarium for the treatment of symptoms related to functional disorders of the stomach.

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