Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders

Gastrointestinal motility problems can range from benign conditions such as constipation to more serious conditions such as achalasiaHirschsprung’s disease, chronic intestinal pseudoobstruction and gastroparesis. Our program specializes in treating all forms of this disorder, with UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital leading the way in understanding and treating gastroparesis in children.

Gastroparesis, a severe motility disorder of the stomach, causes nausea, abdominal pain and early feelings of fullness when eating. As the symptoms are often vague or mimic other disorders, gastroparesis often goes unrecognized for months or years, and results in many tests and treatments that may ultimately prove unsuccessful until the correct diagnosis is made

At UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, the team of Dr. Saleem Islam, pediatric surgeon, and Dr. Chris Jolley, chief of pediatric gastroenterology, are national leaders in defining the diagnosis and treatment of this disabling and chronic condition.

When medications alone aren’t sufficient, Dr. Islam implants a temporary gastric timulator, a device that sends mild electrical signals into the stomach wall to get the organ moving. Children who respond positively can then have a permanent stimulator implanted.

Dr. Islam was the first surgeon in North America to implant gastric neurostimulators in pediatric patients and has performed more of these procedures than anyone else, according to Medtronic, the manufacturer of the only gastric nuerostimulator on the market.

When the neurostimulator does not relieve gastroparesis, Dr. Islam and his colleagues work with patients in search of another solution. Their ultimate goal is to not only treat gastroparesis patients, but to also help other doctors, particular primary care providers, better understand the condition and encourage them to refer their patients to a specialist if symptoms are present and medical therapies have failed.