Neurostimulation of the gastrointestinal tract in children: is it time to shock the gut?


eMediNexus    18 April 2018

An article published in Current Opinion in Pediatrics was based on a review of the current applications of neurostimulation in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, with an emphasis on the use of these treatment modalities in children. The findings revealed that gastric electrical stimulation can lead to symptomatic improvement in children with chronic nausea and vomiting refractory to conventional treatment according to a recent report on long-term outcomes of the former. It was stated that sacral nerve stimulation can be effective in the treatment of children with constipation and fecal incontinence refractory to conventional treatment, and patient satisfaction with treatment remains high despite the risk of complications requiring further surgery. Whereas, abdominal transcutaneous electrical stimulation and posterior tibial nerve stimulation may be effective in the treatment of children with constipation and fecal incontinence. In inference, it was stated that despite the advantages of neurostimulation-based treatments in comparison with more invasive surgical treatment options, evidence for their benefit in children remains limited. Hence, it was recommended that high-quality studies demonstrating safety and efficacy and a better understanding of the mechanism of each modality are necessary for more widespread acceptance of neurostimulation in treating children with gastrointestinal disorders.

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