Measurement of Electrical Activity of the Human Small Intestine Using Surface Electrodes

Jian De Z. Chen, Bruce D. Schinner, Richard W. McCallum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Electrical activity of the human small intestine is usually measured by implanted or intraluminal electrodes. The application of these invasive techniques is, however, very limited. In this paper, a noninvasive technique is introduced to measure electrical activity of the small intestine by placing electrodes on the abdominal skin over the small intestine. Surface recordings were obtained in ten healthy volunteers, three patients with total gastrectomy and five patients with gastroparesis (a slight degree of paralysis of the mucosal coat of the stomach) with implanted electrodes on the serosa of the duodenum. An omnipresent 9–12 cpm electrical activity was observed in all surface recordings. Our findings from the surface electrodes were consistent with those reported in the literature via implanted or intubated electrodes. It is concluded that the technique described in this paper provides a noninvasive way to measure electrical activity of the small intestine. It may have potential application in medical research and clinical diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-602
Number of pages5
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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