The scientists, who report their findings in the August issue of the journal, set out to define the possible effects of gastric electrical stimulation (GES) for gastroparesis on pancreatic function.
They performed 2 related studies, comparing fecal elastase values in two patient groups.
The first group had their GES devices switched on, while the second group had their devices switched off.
[There is] a possible role for GES in the treatment of pancreatic insufficiency associated with gastroparesis
These patients were then compared to 3 control groups; those who had no response to prokinetic mediations, those who responded positively to such medications, and a normal control group.
The researchers then compared polypeptide levels in 7 of 9 GES patients with their devices on and off, as well as evaluating elastase results, GI symptoms, and heart rate variability.
All values were compared by paired t tests and/or ANOVA and were reported as mean values.
Using this method, the researchers found that elastase levels were higher for GES-on than GES-off patients (508.0 vs. 378.6).
Likewise, normal controls recorded higher levels of elastase than either of the prokinetic medication groups (responders and non-responders).
Postprandial pancreatic polypeptide was greater with GES on than off, while heart rate variability revealed a lower percentage change with the GES device on rather than off.
Commenting on their findings, Dr Jean Luo, lead author of the report said, "GES improves exocrine pancreatic release, effects autonomic control, and improves GI symptoms, suggesting a possible role for GES in the treatment of pancreatic insufficiency associated with gastroparesis."