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The effect of erythromycin on bile excretion and proximal small bowel motility following divided gastric bypass surgery: a prospective randomized placebo-controlled trial.

Author(s): Wilkinson NW, Gustafson RJ, Frizzi JD

Affiliation(s): Department of Surgery, Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Fort Gordon, GA, USA. Neal.Wilkinson@RoswellPark.org

Publication date & source: 2002-12, Obes Surg., 12(6):765-72.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

BACKGROUND: No conclusive data exists supporting the use of any prokinetic agent in the postoperative setting. The study was designed to examine the effect of erythromycin on small bowel motility in a placebo-controlled trial of post gastric bypass patients utilizing a standardized nuclear medicine test. METHODS: A consecutive series of 21 patients undergoing elective gastric bypass surgery for morbid obesity between September 1999 and March 2001 were enrolled in this prospective double-blind randomized controlled trial. Standard open, divided gastric bypass was performed. Patients were randomized to receive either erythromycin 250 mg i. v. (11 patients) or placebo (10 patients) every 8 hours. On postoperative day 2, a hepatic iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) scan was obtained. Tracer movement through the biliary tree and proximal small bowel was quantified and compared. RESULTS: Tracer clearance from the liver and biliary tree was no different between groups from time of injection through 1 hour. Tracer material clearance from the duodenum into the jejunum was no different between the erythromycin and control groups at 1 hour, 37% +/- 13% and 37% +/- 22% respectively (P = 0.95). At 4 hours, clearance was greater in the erythromycin group, 77% +/- 6%, compared to control, 60% +/- 20% (P = 0.036). The rate of tracer change between hour 1 and 4 (slope) was steeper in the erythromycin group (P = 0.048). CONCLUSIONS: Erythromycin increases intestinal transit in the postoperative setting.

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