Predictors of gastric emptying (GE) in patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD) of a solid and liquid meal are not well defined. For measurement of GE 80 patients with PD were randomly assigned to receive either a solid meal (250 kcal) containing 13C-octanoate (n = 40) or a liquid meal (315 kcal) with 13C-acetate (n = 40). All patient groups were off medication affecting motility and were matched for age, gender, body mass index, disease duration and severity, using Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). Gastric emptying was compared with a healthy control group (n = 40). Multiple regression analysis was used to determine predictors of gastric emptying. Exactly 88% and 38% of PD patients had delayed GE of solids and liquids respectively. Solid and liquid emptying was similar in women and men. There were no differences in GE in PD patients < 65 years of age when compared with patients > or = 65 years. Multiple regression analysis showed that motor handicaps such as rigour and action tremor are independent predictors of solid GE (r = 0.68, P < 0.001). The severity of motor impairment, but not any other neurological symptom, as assessed by UPDRS is associated with gastroparesis in PD and solid emptying is more likely to be delayed.