Gastrointestinal electrical stimulation: potential applications<br/><br/>

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - 8:30am - 9:15am
Lind 305
Jiande Chen (University of Texas Medical Branch)
Similar to the heart, there is electrical activity in the gastrointestinal tract that is the basis of gastrointestinal contractions. Gastrointestinal electrical stimulation (GIES) is able to modify electrical activity of the gut and therefore altering the functions of smooth muscles of the gut. Depending on stimulation parameters and configurations, GIES may enhance or inhibit gastrointestinal contractions or tone and therefore may have therapeutic potentials for the treatment of gastrointestinal motility disorders and eating disorders, such as obesity.

First, different methods of GIES will be introduced, including short pulse, long pulses and pulse trains. In addition, stimulation electrodes can be placed at different locations, such as on the serosa and mucosa of the gut lumen as well as the abdominal skin. Secondly, the effects of GIES with different parameters on pressure and contractions of the gut will be discussed. With appropriate settings, GIES may enhance or inhibit tone and contractions of the gut, thereby altering the transit of ingested food through the stomach. In patients with functional gastrointestinal diseases, the transit of food through the gut is usually delayed due to lack or impairment in luminal contractions. By enhancing or inducing contractions, GIES may be able to improve gastrointestinal transit and therefore treat patients with gastrointestinal motility disorders. On the other hand, by electrical inhibiting contractions of the stomach, GIES is able to delay emptying of the stomach and therefore enhance postprandial satiety and inter-meal fullness, leading to a reduced food intake. That is, GIES also have an attractive therapeutic potential for obesity. In addition to its mechanical effects on the gut lumen, GIES also activates peripheral and central nerves and alter certain hormones related to food intake and satiety. An overview of electrical therapies for these applications will be given in this talk.
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