The following relates one patient's experience with gastric electrical stimulation for the treatment of chronic, intractable (drug refractory) nausea and vomiting associated with gastroparesis of diabetic or idiopathic origin. Effectiveness of this device for this use has not been demonstrated. Results vary and not every response is the same. Ask your doctor if gastric electrical stimulation is right for you.
Lynn, gastroparesis patient
At the start of her senior year at a Connecticut college, Lynn was on the road to achieving her dreams. She planned to go to graduate school and eventually work with autistic children. And she had just started dating a wonderful young man.
As the fall semester progressed, however, Lynn developed a chronic gastrointestinal condition that baffled her doctors. "I was vomiting 10 to 15 times a day, every day," says Lynn. "I became dehydrated, weak, and horribly fatigued. I went to the emergency room to get intravenous fluids so frequently that the staff knew me on a first-name basis." Eventually, Lynn was diagnosed with gastroparesis.
Lynn did graduate from college, but she had to put her life dreams on hold. She couldn’t work full-time, and even her part-time work with individual children required her to plan regular stops for vomiting in public restrooms.
Her condition also cast doubts on her personal future. "I couldn’t imagine raising children if I had to take time to vomit 15 times a day," she says. "And how could I plan a wedding, knowing I couldn’t eat my own wedding cake!"
Medications didn’t stop her symptoms. She was considering having her stomach surgically removed as a last resort.
Finally, after years of vomiting, Lynn conducted yet another Internet search for gastroparesis treatment options. That’s when she learned about gastric electrical stimulation.
After several evaluations, Lynn had an Enterra® gastric electrical stimulation system implanted in March 2004. By 6 months Lynn noticed a big difference in her symptoms.
Lynn has since opened a school for autistic toddlers and young children where she works full time. She married the wonderful young man who had supported her throughout her ordeal.
While the effectiveness of gastric electrical stimulation hasn’t been shown, and results differ for each patient, it has helped Lynn. Feeling in control of her life again, Lynn is eager to take on the challenges that seemed so daunting before gastric electrical stimulation.
In addition to risks related to a medical procedure, complications from gastric electrical stimulation can include pain, infection, lead penetration, lead/device problems, irritation/inflammation, uncomfortable/unwanted stimulation, and tissue damage, among others.
Safety information concerning EnterraTM therapy
This story reflects one person's experience. Not every person will receive the same results. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.