Patients with chronic nausea and vomiting frequently present challenging diagnostic and therapeutic problems. In such patients, gastroparesis of unknown cause, or "idiopathic" gastroparesis, may be the only objective finding. Two middle-aged women with nausea, vomiting, and weight loss of 10 and 26 kg over 6 and 18 months, respectively, were evaluated. Routine laboratory and barium study results were normal. Solid-phase gastric emptying studies showed severe gastroparesis in both patients. Upper endoscopies excluded gastric outlet obstruction. Gastric dysrhythmias (4-cpm and 1-cpm patterns) were recorded using cutaneous electrodes. An abdominal bruit was ascultated in one patient. Abdominal arteriograms in both patients showed total occlusion of all three major mesenteric vessels with collaterals supplied via hemorrhoidal arteries. Bypass grafting procedures of the celiac and superior mesenteric arteries in one patient and of the celiac artery in the other patient were performed. Six months after mesenteric artery revascularization, upper gastrointestinal symptoms had resolved and original weights were regained. Furthermore, normal 3-cpm gastric myoelectrical activity and normal gastric emptying of solids were restored in both patients. In these patients, chronic mesenteric ischemia resulted in a novel and reversible cause of gastroparesis, gastric dysrhythmias, and accompanying symptoms.
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