Background Over the past 20 years, gastric electrical stimulation has received increasing attention among researchers and clinicians.
Aim To give a systematic review on the effects, mechanisms and applications of gastric electrical stimulation.
Methods Medline was used to identify the articles to be included in this review. Key words used for the search included gastric electrical stimulation, gastric pacing, electrical stimulation, stomach, gastrointestinal motility, central nervous system, gastroparesis, nausea and vomiting; obesity and weight loss. Combinational uses of these keywords were made to identify relevant articles. Most of the articles included in this review ranged from 1985 to 2006.
Results Based on the general search, the review was structured as follows: (i) peripheral and central effects and mechanisms of gastric electrical stimulation; (ii) clinical applications of gastric electrical stimulation for gastroparesis and obesity and (iii) future development of gastric electrical stimulation.
Conclusions Great progress has been made during the past decades. Gastric electrical stimulation has been shown to be effective in normalizing gastric dysrhythmia, accelerating gastric emptying and improving nausea and vomiting. Implantable device has been made available for treating gastroparesis as well as obesity. However, development of a new device and controlled clinical studies are required to further prove clinical efficacy of gastric electrical stimulation.