As an RN who's been suffering from gastroparesis constantly for more than 2 years, I'd like to add some important facts to “What Is Gastroparesis?” (Clinical Queries, September 2006). Your readers should know that weight loss is a huge problem for patients with gastroparesis—adults often weigh less than 100 pounds. Many patients are sustained by enteral tube feedings, parenteral nutrition, or a combination. While gastroparesis itself won't kill you, the effects of the disease can be deadly. Multiple catheters for I.V. antibiotics, fluids, or parenteral nutrition raise the risk of sepsis.
Someone with severe gastroparesis may need to be treated by a gastrointestinal motility specialist, but only a handful of these physicians practice in the United States. Another problem is getting approval for a gastric pacemaker, which costs around $40,000 for the surgery and hospital stay; many patients who need it can't get one.
To me, the article seemed to minimize the problems associated with gastroparesis. I've been unable to work since 2004 and have suffered constantly. This disease has really affected my life.
AMY FOORE, RN, BSN
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