Electrical therapies for gastrointestinal motility disorders

Jiande D.Z. Chen, Jieyun Yin, Wei Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Introduction: Gastrointestinal (GI) motility disorders are common in clinical settings, including esophageal motility disorders, gastroesophageal reflux disease, functional dyspepsia, gastroparesis, chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction, post-operative ileus, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea and constipation. While a number of drugs have been developed for treating GI motility disorders, few are currently available. Emerging electrical stimulation methods may provide new treatment options for these GI motility disorders. Areas covered: This review gives an overview of electrical therapies that have been, and are being developed for GI motility disorders, including gastroesophageal reflux, functional dyspepsia, gastroparesis, intestinal motility disorders and constipation. Various methods of gastrointestinal electrical stimulation are introduced. A few methods of nerve stimulation have also been described, including spinal cord stimulation and sacral nerve stimulation. Potentials of electrical therapies for obesity are also discussed. PubMed was searched using keywords and their combinations: electrical stimulation, spinal cord stimulation, sacral nerve stimulation, gastrointestinal motility and functional gastrointestinal diseases. Expert commentary: Electrical stimulation is an area of great interest and has potential for treating GI motility disorders. However, further development in technologies (devices suitable for GI stimulation) and extensive clinical research are needed to advance the field and bring electrical therapies to bedside.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-418
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Review of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 4 2017


  • Gastrointestinal motility
  • colon electrical stimulation
  • electrical stimulation
  • functional gastrointestinal diseases
  • gastric electrical stimulation
  • intestinal electrical stimulation
  • neuromodulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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