Electrical Control of Gastric Emptying in Denervated and Reinnervated Canine Stomach: A Pilot Study

Sharon Grundfest‐Broniatowski, Charles R. Davies, Eric Olsen, Gordon Jacobs, Jerald Kasick, Samuel M. Chou, Yukihiko Nose, Robert E. Hermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract: Gastric emptying of solids is abnormally slow after vagotomy. To determine whether it was possible to accelerate emptying by electrical stimulation either of the gastric wall directly or of a “foreign” nerve brought in to reinnervate the stomach, eight dogs underwent truncal vagotomy (TV); five of the dogs received intercostal nerve muscle pedicle (NMP) implants. Gastric atony was demonstrated postoperatively in all animals up to 4. months later by means of radiological contrast studies. After allowing time for neurotization to occur (mean 78 days), the cervical vagi were stimulated to confirm that TV was complete. Gastric peristalsis, intraluminal pressures, and emptying were assessed during stimulation of the NMPs and of the gastric wall, followed by sacrifice for histologic study. Neither reinnervation alone nor stimulation of the NMPs improved emptying. Although viable somatic nerve was found in the gastric wall, nerve sprouting was not. By contrast, stimulation of the gastric wall with trains of pulses (20 Hz, 2–10 ms, 2–5 mA) evoked peristalsis in all animals. We conclude that somatic nerve tissue cannot produce functional reinnervation of a visceral organ; however, direct muscular stimulation can accelerate gastric emptying after TV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-259
Number of pages6
JournalArtificial Organs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Gastric pacing
  • Gastric reinnervation
  • Postvagotomy gastric atony

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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