The effect of controlled, experimental ischaemic pain, induced by tourniquet, on gastric emptying of a semi-solid meal of Tc-99m labelled Chelex-100 resin oatmeal was assessed in seven healthy volunteers, each acting as his/her own control. In the pain study, the submaximal effort tourniquet test was applied immediately, 30 min and 45 min after beginning of the study. Pain intensity was rated during the procedure using a linear visual analogue scale (VAS). All subjects participating in the study assessed their pain as close to maximal tolerance after 2-4 min. The pain stimulus caused an immediate acceleration, followed by a reproducible, significant delay in gastric emptying relative to the control situation. The median reduction in meal emptied after 60 min in the pain study was 15% P = 0.035). There was no difference in the duration of the lag period between the groups.