- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A reverse feeding tube developed in St. Louis to aid in weight loss by removing calories before they are digested has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/239KWiJ ) reports that the AspireAssist siphons food out of the stomach through a port implanted in the abdomen. The device was developed by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis.

A tube is inserted into the stomach in a 15-minute outpatient procedure that leaves a valve outside on the skin. The person using the device must attach an exterior tube 20 to 30 minutes after eating a meal, and the food is removed via gravity and emptied into the toilet. Researchers say the device can remove up to 30 percent of calories from a meal before it is digested.

The cost of the device has not been released.

Some who are critical of the device say bears similarities to the eating disorder bulimia, which involves bingeing and purging food, and could be a trigger for people with eating disorders.

But Dr. Shelby Sullivan, who led the initial study on the device, said the patients in the trial did not exhibit any abnormal eating behaviors. She said the calorie restriction takes into account the desire to eat.

According to Sullivan, patients have to chew their food until it disintegrates so that it can be siphoned so they eventually get tired of chewing. She said that seeing the food as it’s being removed changes patient’s eating behaviors as well.

“If you eat a large meal you can’t aspirate it,” Sullivan said. Plus, “the tube is clear, you see what’s coming out, and healthy food looks better.”

Side effects include initial nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation. Risks of having the device installed include bleeding, pain and infection at the valve site.


Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

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