Origin and propagation of human gastric slow-wave activity defined by high-resolution mapping

Gregory O'Grady, Peng Du, Leo K. Cheng, John U. Egbuji, Wim J.E.P. Lammers, John A. Windsor, Andrew J. Pullan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

230 Citations (Scopus)


Slow waves coordinate gastric motility, and abnormal slow-wave activity is thought to contribute to motility disorders. The current understanding of normal human gastric slow-wave activity is based on extrapolation from data derived from sparse electrode recordings and is therefore potentially incomplete. This study employed high-resolution (HR) mapping to reevaluate human gastric slow-wave activity. HR mapping was performed in 12 patients with normal stomachs undergoing upper abdominal surgery, using flexible printed circuit board (PCB) arrays (interelectrode distance 7.6 mm). Up to six PCBs (192 electrodes; 93 cm2) were used simultaneously. Slow-wave activity was characterized by spatiotemporal mapping, and regional frequencies, amplitudes, and velocities were defined and compared. Slow-wave activity in the pacemaker region (mid to upper corpus, greater curvature) was of greater amplitude (mean 0.57 mV) and higher velocity (8.0 mm/s) than the corpus (0.25 mV, 3.0 mm/s) (P < 0.001) and displayed isotropic propagation. A marked transition to higher amplitude and velocity activity occurred in the antrum (0.52 mV, 5.9 mm/s) (P < 0.001). Multiple (3- 4) wavefronts were found to propagate simultaneously in the organoaxial direction. Frequencies were consistent between regions (2.83 ± 0.35 cycles per min). HR mapping has provided a more complete understanding of normal human gastric slow-wave activity. The pacemaker region is associated with highamplitude, high-velocity activity, and multiple wavefronts propagate simultaneously. These data provide a baseline for future HR mapping studies in disease states and will inform noninvasive diagnostic strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)G585-G592
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Activation mapping
  • Electrogastrography
  • Gastric electrical activity
  • Pacemaker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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