Gastroperis is a disorder of the stomach.
The stomach loses its ability to contract and cannot empty. People develop symptoms
of nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloating. It’s been a difficult condition to treat. there
have been medications called prokinetic agents. Several of these agents have had severe side
effects and have been taken off the market. For people with gastroperis who can’t tolerate
medication or medications don’t work for them, it can be an almost crippling disease. People
wind up having to have feeding tubes or frequent admissions to the hospital for IV fluid. Sometimes
they have what’s called a central line, which puts nutrition into their IV. This is prone
to infections and blood clots in their veins. It can be a crippling disease for people who
can’t get nutrition any other way. Enterra therapy is a neuro-simulator of the
stomach. we implant it in the abdominal wall and place the leads in the wall of the stomach.
It provides electrical impulses to the stomach. What it actually does for the patient is decrease
the nausea through the nausea centers in the brain. It’s fairly effective. Most people
will get about a 70% reduction in symptoms with Enterra Therapy.
It’s a fairly easy, safe surgery. It’s done under general anesthesia and we do make two
incisions in the abdomen. The stimulator is about the size of a cardiac pacemaker. It’s
placed in the right abdominal wall through an incision that’s about 3 inches. The wires
run throught the abdominal wall and are sewn into the edge of the stomach.
This applies electrical stimualtion to the stomach which we can control with a handheld
device. We just hold it over the stimulator, we can adjust the settings for it.
Most people are in the hospital for 2 days. I’ve had some patients leave the next day.
Some patients if they continue to have nausea and vomiting, may have to stay in the hospital
3-4 days. What it does is provide relief of the nausea
which often decreases the vomiting that patients are having. it helps them to eat and have
a normal life. It doesn’t work perfectly for everybody. But
I’ve had patients that it’s been life-alerting for. People have come back and been so thankful.
It’s been very rewarding for me to be able to help somebody who we couldn’t find any
other way to help. I’ve had some patients in whom I’ve implanted
the stimulator and have had complete relief. I wouldn’t say that’s typical, most patients
get about 70% relief of symptoms. But for someone who’s absolutely miserable, 70% can
be life-altering in and of itself. They can eat normal food again. And allow people to
return to activities they had before. For some people it can literally be a life