Diabetic gastroparesis

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Diabetic gastroparesis in its severe form is one of the most distressing diabetes complications in terms of quality of life. Delayed gastric emptying is an under-recognised complication occurring in around a third of those with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Clinically, it can present as abdominal bloating, discomfort or pain. In its severe forms it presents as nausea, vomiting and early satiety.

Diagnosis is based on a typical history, exclusion of other causes and confirmation of delayed emptying, most usually by endoscopy and scintigraphy assessing solid phase emptying.

Treatment consists of dietary advice, maintenance/improvement of glycaemic control and pharmacological treatment with prokinetics and anti-emetics. Further investigation of gastric and small bowel function may be appropriate in more severe cases.

Gastric pacing and gastric surgery have been used in refractory cases. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons.

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