Moscow know-how: Doctors patent a new method of gastrointestinal tract treatment

Moscow know-how: Doctors patent a new method of gastrointestinal tract treatment
Photo: Photo by the Mayor and Moscow Government Press Service. Yevgeny Samarin
Doctors at Vikenty Veresayev Hospital invented the technology of resonance electrical stimulation of the gastrointestinal tract, a quick and surgery-free treatment to restore intestinal motility.

Surgeons at the university clinics of Vikenty Veresayev Hospital under Moscow’s Department of Healthcare have invented and patented a method of quickly restoring intestinal motility through resonance electrical stimulation. The drug-free and surgery-free treatment is based on the resonance effect,  that is when the electric current impulses occur at the same frequency as the contractions of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), putting the intestine into motion. The new method is unique and the first of its kind in Russia.

“Moscow doctors not only keep up with the latest scientific research but also regularly contribute to the development of innovative treatment methods. The initiative is highly important for healthcare as it is the indicator of both an employee’s and medical organisation’s performance,” noted Moscow Government Minister and Head of the Department of Healthcare Alexei Khripun.

The innovative method has already been put into clinical practice and is used to treat atony and enteroparesis (loss of muscle tone), which leads to a serious malfunction of the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, a person suffers from acute and dull abdominal pain and feels worse.  The symptoms may occur in healthy individuals and patients who have had abdominal surgery. Nearly 100 patients at Vikenty Veresayev Hospital have undergone resonance electrical stimulation. It is a free service for mandatory medical insurance policy holders who have a surgeon’s referral.

“Restoring gastric motility following surgery requires just a few sessions of resonance electrical stimulation. The procedure is performed by fixing two electrodes to the patient’s abdomen, which send an impulse of low currents. First, the device takes a reading, like during an electrocardiogramme of four sections of the gastrointestinal tract – the stomach, the duodenum, small intestine and large intestine. The data is shown on a screen in real time. We work out a further treatment plan using the software and several measurements,” said Vladimir Fomin, a surgeon at Vikenty Veresayev Hospital and one of the developers of resonance electrical stimulation.

To achieve the desired effect, an individual impulse rate is calculated for each patient. One treatment session lasts about 90 minutes. The number of procedures an individual is prescribed differs. On average, it takes about five sessions to restore intestinal activity, but in some cases one session may be enough.

Intestinal atony responds to treatment in 95 percent of cases, and the recovery takes a few days. In five percent of cases, though, including after major surgeries, intestinal activity is non-recoverable. Then doctors have to perform surgery.

The new method of resonance electrical stimulation minimises post-surgical complications caused by enteroparesis and provides for a more speedy recovery and hospital discharge.

Moscow medics have been constantly developing and putting into practice unique methods and innovative technologies of diagnostics and treatment. Botkin Hospital has been applying the intraoperative radiation therapy the hospital developed. The technology is used in surgical oncology and neurosurgery (surgery is performed by exposing a patient to a one-time high dose of ionising radiation). 

Botkin Hospital performs over 40,000 surgeries annually, about a quarter of which involve high technologies. In most cases, these are minimally invasive endoscopic procedures and surgeries requiring X-ray equipment and CT scans. Since 2013, surgeons have been using the da Vinci robotic system.