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BACKGROUND: Gastroparesis, a chronic motility disorder characterized by delayed gastric emptying, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting, remains largely unexplained. Medical therapy is limited, reflecting the complex physiology of gastric sensorimotor function. Vagus nerve stimulation is an attractive therapeutic modality for gastroparesis, but prior methods required invasive surgery. In this open-label pilot study, we aimed to assess the benefit of non-invasive vagal nerve stimulation in patients with mild to moderate idiopathic gastroparesis.METHODS: Patients self-administered the gammaCore vagal nerve stimulator for 4weeks. The gastroparesis cardinal symptom index daily diary (GCSI-dd) was assessed during a two-week run-in period, =4weeks of therapy, and 4weeks after therapy was completed. Gastric emptying and autonomic function testing were also performed. The primary endpoint was an absolute reduction in CGSI-dd of 0.75 after nVNS.RESULTS: There was a total improvement in symptom scores (2.56±0.76 to 1.87±1.05; P=.01), with 6/15 (40%) participants meeting our primary endpoint. Therapy was associated with a reduction in gastric emptying (T1/2 155 vs 129minutes; P=.053, CI -0.4 to 45). Therapy did not correct autonomic function abnormalities, but was associated with modulation of reflex parasympathetic activity.CONCLUSIONS: Short-term non-invasive vagal nerve stimulation led to improved cardinal symptoms and accelerated gastric emptying in a subset of patients with idiopathic gastroparesis. Responders had more severe gastric delay at baseline and clinical improvement correlated with duration of therapy, but not with improvements in gastric emptying. Larger randomized sham-controlled trials of greater duration are needed to confirm the results of this pilot study.
View details for DOI 10.1111/nmo.13769
View details for PubMedID 31802596