Gastroparesis is a disorder characterized by delayed gastric emptying of solid food in the absence of a mechanical obstruction of the stomach, resulting in the cardinal symptoms of early satiety, postprandial fullness, nausea, vomiting, belching and bloating. Gastroparesis is now recognized as part of a broader spectrum of gastric neuromuscular dysfunction that includes impaired gastric accommodation. The overlap between upper gastrointestinal symptoms makes the distinction between gastroparesis and other disorders, such as functional dyspepsia, challenging. Thus, a confirmed diagnosis of gastroparesis requires measurement of delayed gastric emptying via an appropriate test, such as gastric scintigraphy or breath testing. Gastroparesis can have idiopathic, diabetic, iatrogenic, post-surgical or post-viral aetiologies. The management of gastroparesis involves: correcting fluid, electrolyte and nutritional deficiencies; identifying and treating the cause of delayed gastric emptying (for example, diabetes mellitus); and suppressing or eliminating symptoms with pharmacological agents as first-line therapies. Several novel pharmacologic agents and interventions are currently in the pipeline and show promise to help tailor individualized therapy for patients with gastroparesis.
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