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Gastroparesis consists of abnormally delayed emptying of stomach contents into the small bowel in the absence of gastric outlet obstruction or ulceration, usually as a result of damage to the nerves or smooth muscle involved in gastric emptying.
- Mechanical obstruction should always be excluded.
- In addition to evaluating for acute metabolic derangements and potential offending medications (narcotics, anticholinergic agents, chemotherapeutic agents, glucagon-like peptide-1 and amylin analogs), patients with gastroparesis should be screened for diabetes mellitus, thyroid dysfunction, neurologic disease, prior gastric or bariatric surgery, and autoimmune disorders (e.g., scleroderma).
- If no predisposing cause is identified, gastroparesis is designated idiopathic.