Gastroparesis on the rise: incidence vs awareness?


Address for Correspondence
Salman Nusrat, MD, Presbyterian University Hospital, M2, C Wing, 200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.
Tel: +412 626 4887; fax: +412 648 9378; e-mail:


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.