Ablation Therapy Applied to Stomach Disorders

In normal circumstances, the stomach is coordinated by underlying bioelectrical slow-wave activity, which coordinates the contraction of the muscles that mix and move contents into and through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. 

Gastric dysrhythmias occur in gastrointestinal motility disorders that can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, pain, and bloating. There are no validated methods for eliminating them. 

When dysrhythmic activity happens in the heart it results in irregular heartbeats, which are often treated with ablation therapy, which involves the burning of tissue to control the occurring electricity of the heart. 

Using Ablation Therapy in the Stomach

In a recently published study, researchers hypothesized that targeted ablation could eliminate pacemaker sites in the stomach. The results appear in the American Journal of Physiology.

For the study the team used a pig model and performed an in vivo high-resolution serosal electrical mapping (16 × 16 electrodes; 6 × 6 cm) was applied to localize normal and ectopic gastric pacemaker sites in 13 anesthetized pigs. After which, they performed radiofrequency ablation in a square formation surrounding the pacemaker site.

Histological analysis showed that ablation lesions extended through the entire depth of the muscle layer. Immunohistochemical staining confirmed localized interruption of the interstitial cell of Cajal (ICC) network through the ablation lesions.

The authors concluded that the study demonstrated that targeted gastric ablation can effectively modulate gastric electrical activation, including eliminating ectopic sites of slow wave activation, presenting a powerful new research tool for modulating gastric electrical activity and hopefully develop new therapeutics for gastric disorders. 


Zahra Aghababaie, et al. Targeted ablation of gastric pacemaker sites to modulate patterns of bioelectrical slow wave activation and propagation in an anesthetized pig model. American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, 2022; 322 (4): G431 DOI: 10.1152/ajpgi.00332.2021 

University of Auckland. “Ablation therapy applied to stomach disorders.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 May 2022. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/05/220502120503.htm>. 

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