Advancing gastric emptying studies: standardization and new parameters to assess gastric motility and function

Semin Nucl Med. 2012 Mar;42(2):101-12. doi: 10.1053/j.semnuclmed.2011.10.001.


For many years, gastric emptying (GE) studies were performed using various local protocols and different radiolabeled meals. This lack of standardization and normal values made the test results unreliable and difficult to compare from one site to another. A recent consensus has been published that now provides guidance and standardization on how to perform a radiolabeled solid-meal GE study. It is widely recognized, however, that simple measurement of total GE of a solid meal often does not provide an answer to the etiology of symptoms for a large number of patients who present with functional dyspepsia. Advances in our understanding of the different roles of the fundus and antrum and their complex interaction with the proximal small bowel and central nervous system have led to the development of new methods to study gastric motility. This review describes how a more comprehensive approach to studying GE is needed and how this will lead to better diagnosis and treatment for patients referred for GE studies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gastric Emptying*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Radionuclide Imaging / economics
  • Radionuclide Imaging / standards*
  • Reference Standards
  • Reimbursement Mechanisms
  • Time Factors