Arrhythmias in the gut


  • W. J. E. P. Lammers

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
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Address for Correspondence

Wim J. E. P. Lammers, MD, PhD, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, P.O.Box 17666, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.

Tel: 971-3-7137534; fax: 971-3-7671966;



In recent years, it has become possible to record, from a large number of extracellular electrodes, the electrical activities of smooth muscle organs. These recordings, after proper processing and analysis, may reveal origin and propagation of normal and abnormal electrical activities in these organs. Several publications have appeared in the past 5 years describing origin and propagation of slow waves in the stomach of experimental animals and in humans. Furthermore, publications are now starting to appear that describe pathophysiological patterns of propagation and these studies provide us with novel concepts regarding potential mechanisms of arrhythmias in the gut, crucial information if we are ever going to successfully treat patients suffering from such arrhythmias. In this issue of Neurogastroenterology & Motility, Angeli et al. have mapped the slow wave propagation in the porcine small intestine and discovered two types of reentry; functional reentry and circumferential reentry. Next to the descriptions of arrhythmias in the stomach, the fact that reentrant arrhythmias may also occur in the small intestine further extends this new emerging field of gastrointestinal (GI) arrhythmias. In this viewpoint, the relevance of these arrhythmias is further discussed and a few ideas for future research in this field, not necessarily constrained to the GI system, proposed.