Developments in Gastrointestinal Electrical Stimulation

Zhiyue Lin, J. D.Z. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Electrical stimulation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, analogous to pacing the human heart, is an attractive idea. This is because these organs, like the heart, have their own natural pacemakers, and the electrical signals they generate can be altered by externally delivering certain types of electric currents via intraluminal or serosal electrodes to certain areas of the GI tract. A number of studies on animals have been accomplished successfully to treat a variety of disease models, including gastroparesis, dumping, and short bowel syndrome. Over the past 10 years or so, electrical stimulation of the GI tract has received increasing attention among researchers and clinicians because of new techniques, such as implantable devices, and promising results achieved in treatment of gastroparesis and morbid obesity. The objective of this article is to review the advances in electrical stimulation of the gastrointestinal tract. First the electrophysiology of the GI tract and history of GI electrical stimulation are introduced. Then various methods of electrical stimulation of the stomach and small bowel in healthy animals and models of GI diseases are reviewed. Finally clinical applications of electrical stimulation to GI disorders and their possible mechanisms are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-301
Number of pages39
JournalCritical reviews in biomedical engineering
Issue number1-6
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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