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What is an electrogastrogram?
An electrogastrogram is similar to an electrocardiogram (EKG) of the heart. It is a recording of the electrical signals that travel through the muscles of the stomach and control the muscles' contraction.
When is an electrogastrogram used?
An electrogastrogram is used when there is a suspicion that the muscles of the stomach or the nerves controlling those muscles are not working normally. Usually this suspicion arises when there is a problem with recurrent nausea and vomiting, signs that the stomach is not emptying food normally. If the electrogastrogram is abnormal, it confirms that the problem probably is with the stomach's muscles or the nerves that control the muscles. The electrogastrogram can be considered an experimental procedure since its exact role in the diagnosis of diseases of the stomach has not been defined yet.
How is an electrogastrogram done?
For an electrogastrogram, several electrodes are taped onto the abdomen over the stomach in the same manner as electrodes are placed on the chest for an electrocardiogram. The electrodes sense the electrical signals coming from the stomach's muscles, and the signals are recorded on a computer for analysis. Recordings are made both fasting and after a meal with the patient lying quietly. The study takes two or three hours.
How are the results of the electrogastrogram evaluated?
In normal individuals there is a regular electrical rhythm generated by the muscles of the stomach--just as in the heart--and the power (voltage) of the electrical current increases after the meal. In patients with abnormalities of the muscles or nerves of the stomach, the rhythm often is irregular or there is no post-meal increase in electrical power.
Are there any side effects of an electrogastrogram?
There are no side effects. The study is painless.
Are there alternatives to the electrogastrogram?
No, there are no alternatives to this study. Other studies, however, for example, antro-duodenal motility studies or gastric emptying studies may give additional information since abnormal electrical activity of the stomach often results in abnormal muscular activity and reduced or delayed emptying of food from the stomach.
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"Electrogastrography: Methodology, Validation and Applications"
U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health
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Antro-duodenal Motility StudyAn antro-duodenal motility study is used to diagnose motility disorders of the stomach or small intestine. Symptoms of a motility disorder include nausea, vomiting, and intestinal distention. One common cause of a stomach or intestinal motility disorder is diabetes mellitus.
Diabetes MellitusDiabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The two types of diabetes are referred to as type 1 (insulin dependent) and type 2 (non-insulin dependent). Symptoms of diabetes include increased urine output, thirst, hunger, and fatigue. Treatment of diabetes depends on the type.
DyspepsiaIndigestion (dyspepsia) can be caused by diseases or conditions that involve the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and also by some diseases and conditions that do not involve the GI tract. Indigestion can be a chronic condition in which the symptoms fluctuate in frequency and intensity. Signs and symptoms that accompany indigestion include pain in the chest, upper abdominal pain, belching, nausea, bloating, abdominal distention, feeling full after eating only a small portion of food, and rarely, vomiting.
Gastric Emptying StudyA gastric emptying study is a procedure that is done by nuclear medicine physicians using radioactive chemicals that measures the speed with which food empties from the stomach and enters the small intestine. A gastric emptying study often is used when there is a possibility of an abnormal delay in food emptying from the stomach. Medically, this is called delayed gastric emptying. The two most common causes of delayed gastric emptying are gastric outlet obstruction and gastroparesis.
GastroparesisGastroparesis is a medical condition in which the muscle of the stomach is paralyzed by a disease of either the stomach muscle itself or the nerves controlling the muscle. As a consequence, food and secretions do not empty normally from the stomach. Gastroparesis symptoms are nausea and vomiting; abdominal bloating, and pain can result.
Upper GI SeriesAn upper gastrointestinal GI series, or barium swallow is a test used in assisting in the diagnosis of upper gastrointestinal diseases or conditions such as:
- hiatal hernias,
- blockages, and
- abnormalities of the muscular wall of the GI tract.