Gastric Emptying

Time Required:
Liquid - 75 minutes
Solid - 2 1/2 hours
Both - 3 1/2 hours

What is a gastric emptying study?
This is a test that shows how well your stomach can empty either liquid or solid foods. It will show the doctor if there is a gastric motility disorder or obstruction. A small amount of radioactive tracer is used to enable us to see whether or not the food is passing through the stomach properly.

Why do I need a gastric emptying study?
If you have been experiencing either nausea, vomiting, abdominal fullness, distention or weight loss, then a mechanical obstruction or motility disorder may be the cause of your problem. Gastric emptying studies are ordered when standard radiographic and/or endoscopic studies cannot explain the signs and symptoms you are having.

How do I prepare for my gastric emptying study?
You should not eat or drink anything past midnight the night before the procedure is to be started. Bring a list of medications you are currently taking.

What can I expect during the test?
For the liquid portion, you will be asked to drink a glass of water mixed with a small amount of radioactive material. As soon as you finish drinking the water, the technologist will take a picture of your stomach. A picture will be taken every 15 minutes for one hour to watch your stomach empty. For the solid portion, you will be asked to eat a scrambled egg that also has radioactive material mixed with it. The technologist will then take a picture of your stomach after the egg has been eaten. A picture will be taken every 15 minutes for 2 hours. Sometimes the study is done with both liquid and solid portions.

What do I do after my gastric emptying study?
No special instructions are given after this study. You will not have any side effects from the radioactive material that is administered during this procedure. You may eat as regular. Results will be sent to your doctor, who will then discuss the findings with you.

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