Background: Gastric emptying scintigraphy (GES) of solids is typically used to evaluate for gastroparesis.
Aims: The purpose of this study was to determine the value of simultaneously measuring gastric emptying of liquids and solids for assessing patients for delayed gastric emptying.
Methods: A total of 596 patients at our institution from September 2007 to January 2010 underwent GES with assessment of both solid and liquid gastric emptying. An EggBeaters® with jam sandwich meal radiolabeled with Tc-99 m was used for solid GES and water radiolabeled with In-111 for liquid GES.
Results: Inclusion criteria (no medications affecting gastric motility in 48 h prior to test; no prior gastric surgery) was met by 449 patients. Liquid gastric emptying was significantly correlated to solid gastric emptying: 30 min (r=0.652, P<0.001), 60 min (r=0.624, P<0.001) and 120 min (r=0.766, P<0.001). Interestingly, 60 patients, of which 57 were nondiabetic, had normal solid GES but delayed liquid emptying and represented 26% of the 228 patients with normal solid GES. Gastric retention of solids was mildly correlated with nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, early satiety and feeling excessively full after meals. Gastric emptying of liquids was associated with early satiety and loss of appetite.
Conclusions: Gastric emptying of liquids correlates well with gastric emptying of solids. When evaluating patients for gastroparesis, assessment of gastric emptying of liquids in addition to solids may help identify additional patients with delayed gastric emptying, particularly non-diabetic patients where 26% with normal solid emptying may have delayed emptying of liquids. Symptoms of gastroparesis, however, are primarily associated with delayed gastric emptying of solids.