Effect of electrical stimulation on acupuncture points in diabetic patients with gastric dysrhythmia: a pilot study.

Chang CS, Ko CW, Wu CY, Chen GH.

Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, 160, Sec. 3, Chung-Kang Road, Taichung 407, Taiwan. changcs@vghtc.vghtc.gov.tw

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Abnormal gastric slow-wave frequencies have been observed in diabetic gastroparesis and are associated with impaired antral motor activity. In this study, we aimed at evaluating the effect of acupuncture on gastric slow waves in diabetic patients with symptoms suggesting gastric motor dysfunction. METHODS: Fifteen patients with type II diabetes who had had dyspeptic symptoms for more than 3 months were enrolled. Two acupuncture needles were inserted into the subjects’ legs at the Zusanli points, and electrical stimulation (2-Hz pulses) was delivered for 30 min. Cutaneous electrogastrography was performed for 30 min at baseline, for 30 min during acupuncture, and for an additional 30 min after acupuncture. Serum gastrin, motilin, and human pancreatic polypeptide levels were also measured. RESULTS: There was a significant increase in the percentages of normal frequency during and after acupuncture (baseline vs. acupuncture and after acupuncture 21.99 +/- 19.38% vs. 45.93 +/- 19.72 and 48.92 +/- 19.56%; p < 0.01). In addition, the percentage of tachygastric frequency was decreased significantly during and after acupuncture. The dominant frequency was also changed significantly. There was an increase of serum human pancreatic polypeptide during acupuncture (baseline vs. acupuncture 56.96 +/- 27.64 vs. 73.11 +/- 22.37 pmol/l; p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study revealed that electrical stimulation at the Zusanli points could increase the percentage of normal electrogastrography frequency and decrease the percentage of tachygastric frequency in diabetic patients. The data indicate that acupuncture may enhance the regularity of gastric myoelectrical activity in diabetic patients.


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