Performance characteristics of scintigraphic measurement of gastric emptying of solids in healthy participants

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2012 Dec;24(12):1076-e562. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2012.01972.x. Epub 2012 Jul 2.


Background: Gastric emptying (GE) is measured in pharmacodynamic and diagnostic studies. Our aim was to assess inter- and intra-subject coefficients of variation (COV) of scintigraphic GE measurements in healthy subjects, and associations of GE with gender and body mass index (BMI).

Methods: Data from participants with scintigraphic measurements of gastric emptying of solids were analyzed. Primary endpoints were gastric emptying T(1/2) (GE T(1/2) ) and GE at 1, 2, 3, and 4 h.

Key results: The patient cohort consisted of 105 males and 214 females; at least two studies were performed in 47 subjects [16 males (M), 32 females (F)]. Inter-subject COV (COV(inter) ) for GE T(1/2) were similar in M and F: overall 24.5% (M 26.0%, F 22.5%); COV are predictably lowest for GE at 4 h (COV(inter) 9.6%). COV(intra) for T(1/2) and GE at 4 h were overall 23.8% and 12.6%, and were similar to COV(inter) values. Gender (but not age or BMI) was significantly associated with GE T1/2 [P < 0.001, F 127.6 ± 28.7 (SD) min; M 109.9 ± 28.6 min] and with GE at 1 h and 2 h. Repeat GE T(1/2) values in 47 participants were significantly correlated (r = 0.459, P < 0.001) with median difference of -6 min (mean -1.6, range -56 to 72 min). Bland-Altman plots showed Δ GE T(1/2) similarly distributed across mean GE T(1/2) 100-155 min, and across studies conducted 90-600 days apart.

Conclusions & inferences: Inter-subject variations in scintigraphic GE results are only slightly higher than the intra-subject measurements, which are also reproducible over time in healthy volunteers. Gender, but not BMI, is significantly associated with GE results.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Gastric Emptying / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Stomach / diagnostic imaging*