Diseases & Conditions



Synonyms of Gastroparesis
  • delayed gastric emptying
  • gastric atony
  • gastric dysmotility
  • gastric stasis
  • gastrointestinal autonomic neuropathy
  • gastroparesis diabeticorum
  • gastropathy
  • severe functional dyspepsia

Disorder Subdivisions

  • diabetic gastroparesis
  • idiopathic gastroparesis
  • post-surgical gastroparesis

General Discussion
Gastroparesis (abbreviated as GP) represents a clinical syndrome characterized by sluggish emptying of solid food (and more rarely, liquid nutrients) from the stomach, which causes persistent digestive symptoms especially nausea and primarily affects young to middle-aged women, but is also known to affect younger children and males. Diagnosis is made based upon a radiographic gastric emptying test. Diabetics and those acquiring gastroparesis for unknown (or, idiopathic) causes represent the two largest groups of gastroparetic patients; however, numerous etiologies (both rare and common) can lead to a gastroparesis syndrome.

Gastroparesis is also known as delayed gastric emptying and is an old term that does not adequately describe all the motor impairments that may occur within the gastroparetic stomach. Furthermore, there is no expert agreement on the use of the term, gastroparesis. Some specialists will reserve the term, gastroparesis, for grossly impaired emptying of the stomach while retaining the label of delayed gastric emptying, or functional dyspepsia (non-ulcer dyspepsia), for less pronounced evidence of impaired emptying. These terms are all very subjective. There is no scientific basis by which to separate functional dyspepsia from classical gastroparesis except by symptom intensity. In both conditions, there is significant overlap in treatment, symptomatology and underlying physiological disturbances of stomach function.

For the most part, the finding of delayed emptying (gastric stasis) provides a marker for a gastric motility problem. Regardless, the symptoms generated by the stomach dysmotility greatly impair quality of life for the vast majority of patients and disable about 1 in 10 patients with the condition.

While delayed emptying of the stomach is the clinical feature of gastroparesis, the relationship between the degree of delay in emptying and the intensity of digestive symptoms does not always match. For instance, some diabetics may exhibit pronounced gastric stasis yet suffer very little from the classical gastroparetic symptoms of: nausea, vomiting, reflux, abdominal pain, bloating, fullness, and loss of appetite. Rather, erratic blood-glucose control and life-threatening hypoglycemic episodes may be the only indication of diabetic gastroparesis. In another subset of patients (diabetic and non-diabetic) who suffer from disabling nausea that is to the degree that their ability to eat, sleep or carry out activities of daily living is disrupted gastric emptying may be normal, near normal, or intermittently delayed. In such cases, a gastric neuro-electrical dysfunction, or gastric dysrhythmia (commonly found associated with gastroparesis syndrome), may be at fault.

Therefore, these disorders of functional dyspepsia, gastric dysrhythms, and gastroparesis are all descriptive labels sharing similar symptoms and perhaps representing a similar entity of disordered gastric neuromuscular function. For this reason, a more encompassing term, gastropathy, can be used interchangeably with gastroparesis.

Organizations related to Gastroparesis
  • American Diabetes Association
    National Call Center
    Alexandria VA 22311
    Phone #: 703-549-1500
    800 #: 800-342-2383
    e-mail: [email protected]
    Home page: http://www.diabetes.org
  • Association of Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders, Inc. (AGMD)
    AGMD International Corporate Headquarters
    Bedford MA 01730
    Phone #: 781-275-1300
    800 #: --
    e-mail: [email protected]
    Home page: http://www.agmd-gimotility.org
  • Digestive Disease National Coalition
    507 Capitol Court
    Washington DC 20002
    Phone #: 202-544-7497
    800 #: --
    e-mail: [email protected]
    Home page: http://www.ddnc.org
  • Gastroparesis and Dysmotilities Association
    5520 Dalhart Hill N.W.
    Calgary, AB None T3A 1S9
    Phone #: 403--24-7-3215
    800 #: N/A
    e-mail: [email protected]
    Home page: http://www.digestivedistress.com
  • International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
    P.O. Box 170864
    Milwaukee WI 53217
    Phone #: 414-964-1799
    800 #: 888-964-2001
    e-mail: [email protected]
    Home page: http://www.iffgd.org
  • International Scleroderma Network
    7455 France Ave So #266
    Edina MN 55435
    Phone #: 952-831-3091
    800 #: 800-564-7099
    e-mail: [email protected]
    Home page: http://www.sclero.org
  • NIH/National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
    2 Information Way
    Bethesda MD 20892-3570
    Phone #: 301-654-3810
    800 #: 800-891-5389
    e-mail: [email protected]
    Home page: http://www.niddk.nih.gov

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc. ? (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be obtained for a small fee by visiting the NORD website. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational treatments (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, see http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdblist.html