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Northwestern Memorial tests 'pacemaker' for stomach

CHICAGO Northwestern Memorial Hospital is one of only eight sites nationally and the only in Chicago to participate in a research study to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the Implantable Gastric Stimulation (IGS) a "pacemaker" for the stomach that may create a sense of fullness. The IGS, which essentially looks and operates very similar to a typical cardiac pacemaker, will be tested to see if it is a safer, less invasive alternative to other surgical treatments for weight loss.

Manufactured by Transneuronix, this system consists of an electrical pulse generator, about the size of a pocket watch, which is placed under the skin in the abdomen and connected to the wall of the stomach with two wires. The pulse generator delivers electrical stimulation to the stomach, causing the feeling of fullness. Implanting it takes less than an hour and is done as an outpatient laparoscopic procedure.

"Surgeons are still unsure exactly why it lessens the appetite," explains Robert Kushner, M.D., medical director of the Wellness Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and professor of medicine at Northwestern Universitys Feinberg School of Medicine. "Possible mechanisms of action include an impact on the nerves, changes in digestive hormones or direct stimulation of stomach muscles."

Clinical data have been collected on about 450 subjects worldwide. "The IGS system, unlike most operations that treat obesity, does not alter gastrointestinal anatomy and is being tested to see if it is less invasive and results in fewer complications compared to other surgical procedures," adds Jay B. Prystowsky, M.D., chief of the Division of Gastrointestinal and Endocrine Surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and professor of surgery at Northwestern Universitys Feinberg School of Medicine.

The electronic pulse generator is operated by a programmer or hand-held computer that uses radio waves and programming software to communicate with the
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Contact: Patty Keiler
pkeiler@nmh.org
312-926-5900
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
28-Apr-2004


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