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Keywords:

  • electrogastrography;
  • gastric slow wave;
  • magnetogastrography;
  • SQUID magnetometer

Abstract  Gastric slow waves propagate in the electrical syncytium of the healthy stomach, being generated at a rate of approximately three times per minute in a pacemaker region along the greater curvature of the antrum and propagating distally towards the pylorus. Disease states are known to alter the normal gastric slow wave. Recent studies have suggested the use of biomagnetic techniques for assessing parameters of the gastric slow wave that have potential diagnostic significance. We present a study in which the gastric syncytium was uncoupled by mechanical division as we recorded serosal electric potentials along with multichannel biomagnetic signals and cutaneous potentials. By computing the surface current density (SCD) from multichannel biomagnetic recordings, we were able to quantify gastric slow wave propagation as well as the frequency and amplitude of the slow wave and to show that these correlate well with similar parameters from serosal electrodes. We found the dominant slow wave frequency to be an unreliable indicator of gastric uncoupling as uncoupling results in the appearance of multiple slow wave sources at various frequencies in external recordings. The percentage of power distributed in specific frequency ranges exhibited significant postdivision changes. Propagation velocity determined from SCD maps was a weak indicator of uncoupling in this work; we believe that the relatively low spatial resolution of our 19-channel biomagnetometer confounds the characterization of spatial variations in slow wave propagation velocities. Nonetheless, the biomagnetic technique represents a non-invasive method for accurate determination of clinically significant parameters of the gastric slow wave.