Electrical Stimulation Therapy helps debilitating stomach disorder

July 16, 2013

UNT Health Surgeon Joseph E. Ronaghan, MD, FACS, is the only physician in Fort Worth who offers a therapy that provides hope to patients suffering from certain types of gastroparesis. This debilitating stomach disorder is common in people with diabetes, among other conditions.

“Gastroparesis is a chronic disorder in which food passes through the stomach more slowly than normal,” Dr. Ronaghan said. “For some people, this condition results in serious nausea and vomiting that cannot be adequately controlled with standard medical therapy and can lead to potentially life-threatening complications such as dehydration and malnutrition. These patients have difficulty eating and drinking and may require some form of intravenous or tube feeding to ensure adequate nutrition.”

“Medtronic Enterra® Therapy uses mild electrical pulses, called gastric electrical stimulation, to stimulate the stomach,” Dr. Ronaghan said. “This electrical stimulation may help control the symptoms associated with gastroparesis of diabetic or idiopathic origin, including nausea and vomiting, when medications have not been effective.”

Gastroparesis is often associated with diabetes. More than 18 million Americans have diabetes, and this number is rising. An estimated 25 to 30 percent of people with diabetes may have gastroparesis, and this percentage increases with time (up to 50 percent). Gastroparesis affects an estimated 40 to 50 percent of people with type 1 diabetes and 30 to 40 percent of people with type 2 diabetes.

Signs and symptoms of gastroparesis include:

  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Vomiting of undigested food
  • Early feeling of fullness when eating
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Erratic blood glucose (sugar) levels
  • Lack of appetite
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Spasms of the stomach wall

For more information about Enterra Therapy, or to determine if you could be a candidate, contact the UNT Health Surgery Department at 817-735-0525.

Diana Cervantes. Assistant Professor Biostatistics & Epidemiology
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