This story recounts the experience of one person who is receiving Enterra™ Therapy (gastric electrical stimulation). Medtronic invited him to share his story candidly. Please bear in mind that the experiences are specific to this particular person. Not everyone who receives Enterra Therapy will receive the same results as the person in this story.
Jim, a dentist in rural Wisconsin, has lived with diabetes for more than 30 years. At 53, he developed gastroparesis*, a condition characterized by chronic nausea and vomiting that sent Jim to the hospital close to 200 times in 3 years.
Jim’s condition affected his dental practice and social life. "I would often have to excuse myself in the middle of an appointment because I had to vomit," Jim says. "My friends learned to expect frequent last-minute cancellations for social events."
Strong analgesics and antinausea medications did not provide relief for his symptoms. Eventually, Jim could not eat at all except for small amounts of baby food.
For 6 months, he was fed through TPN, a process that delivered nutrients to his bloodstream through a special intravenous (IV) tube. Unfortunately, the TPN caused a blood infection that led to an abscess and removal of two vertebrae in Jim’s back.
Jim was beginning to lose hope for a normal life when his doctors prescribed gastric electrical stimulation. After receiving the system, Jim’s life began to improve. Soon, Jim could eat small mouthfuls of food. Eight weeks later, his diet was closer to normal.
"It was a huge relief not having to worry every morning whether I was going into the hospital," says Jim. "I was no longer tethered to an IV."
While the effectiveness of gastric electrical stimulation hasn’t been shown, and results differ for each patient, it has helped Jim. A year after the implant in early 2007, he celebrated his first anniversary of no hospitalizations for nausea and vomiting. He’s returned to an active life with a busy work and social schedule.
"I really appreciate being able to eat now," says Jim. "There’s nothing like being able to enjoy cappuccinos again!"
Surgical complications are possible and may include infection, bleeding, bruising, and pain at the implant site. Once implanted, the system may become infected, devices may move or wear through the skin, the lead may perforate the stomach, the lead may entangle with or obstruct the bowel, irritation/inflammation over implant site may occur. The therapy system could stop suddenly because of mechanical or electrical problems. Any of these situations may require additional surgery or cause your symptoms to return and some can be life-threatening.
For a list of adverse events that have been associated with the therapy, please refer to Important Safety Information.
*Humanitarian Device: The Enterra Therapy system for gastric electrical stimulation is authorized by Federal law for use in treatment of chronic intractable (drug refractory) nausea and vomiting secondary to gastroparesis of diabetic or idiopathic etiology. The effectiveness of this device for this use has not been demonstrated. What does this mean?
This story reflects one person's experience. Not every person will receive the same results. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.