Background Recent reports provide a conflicting picture with a stable prevalence of gastroparesis (GP) in a population-based study, but a more than doubling in hospitalizations for gastroparesis within the last 10 years. We hypothesized that this apparent discrepancy is due to changes in disease recognition and coding rather than prevalence.
Methods Using data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, Healthcare cost and utilization project, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, we examined time trends of resource utilization for GP and related disorders.
Key Results Between 1994 and 2009, annual hospitalizations for gastroparesis as primary diagnosis increased more than 18-fold from 918 to 16 736. In the same time frame, hospitalizations for not otherwise specified functional disorders of the stomach decreased by nearly 50% from 13 430 to 6480 per year.
Conclusions & Inferences Although hospitalizations rates and emergency encounters for gastroparesis have increased dramatically within the last 2 decades, there was a concomitant decrease in resource utilization for other functional disorders of the stomach, suggesting that increased awareness contributed to this trend, which represents a shift in diagnoses rather than a true difference in the incidence and/or prevalence of these illnesses.