Background & aims: Endoscopy-negative dyspepsia is a common symptom that often is difficult to define in pathophysiologic terms. The aim of this study was to assess the frequency of disordered gastric accommodation and emptying in patients referred with unexplained upper gastrointestinal symptoms.
Methods: A computerized diagnostic index was used to identify all patients, 18-70 years old, who underwent single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) to assess gastric accommodation at Mayo Clinic Rochester over a 3-year period. Demographics, clinical features, and results of diagnostic testing, including scintigraphic gastric emptying, were extracted from the electronic record.
Results: A total of 214 patients were identified; the primary clinical diagnoses were functional dyspepsia, postfundoplication syndromes, rumination syndrome, and diabetic dyspepsia. Gastric accommodation was impaired in 43% of the whole group: 47% of functional dyspepsia, 44% of postfundoplication syndromes, and 33% of diabetic dyspepsia. Delayed gastric emptying was most prevalent in diabetic dyspepsia, and was accelerated in postfundoplication syndromes groups. Thirty-seven percent of patients had abnormal gastric emptying. The highest prevalence of delayed gastric emptying was in the diabetic dyspepsia and accelerated gastric emptying in postfundoplication syndromes groups. Twenty-five percent of patients with normal gastric emptying had impaired accommodation. Upper-gastrointestinal symptoms were not different in groups based on gastric accommodation or emptying results.
Conclusions: Impaired gastric accommodation is common in patients with unexplained dyspepsia. Symptoms alone cannot predict physiologic disturbances. These noninvasive tests identify single or combined pathophysiologic disturbances and may help to identify subgroups of patients as candidates for more selective pharmacotherapy in the future.