Postprandial plasma glucose response and gastrointestinal symptom severity in patients with diabetic gastroparesis

J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2014 Jul;8(4):881-8. doi: 10.1177/1932296814531098. Epub 2014 May 6.


Gastroparesis is a well-known diabetic complication. The pathogenesis is not fully understood. However, it is important to early diagnose these patients. This study evaluated the plasma glucose response after a test meal, and gastrointestinal (GI) symptom severity in patients with clinical suspicion of diabetic gastroparesis, and assessed its usefulness to predict gastroparesis. In all, 83 subjects with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus (DM) type 1 and 2 were included; 53 subjects had gastroparesis and 30 had normal gastric emptying determined by gastric scintigraphy. GI symptom severity during the preceding 2 weeks was evaluated with a validated questionnaire. The test meal consisted of 100 g meat, 40 g pasta, 150 g carrot, and 5 g oil. The subjects ingested the meal under fasting conditions, and plasma glucose was followed during 180 minutes. Patients with gastroparesis demonstrated a blunted plasma glucose response after a test meal versus patients with normal gastric emptying (P < .005), reflected by lower maximum increase in plasma glucose response and incremental area under the curve of the plasma glucose, but a similar time to the maximum plasma glucose level. All GI symptoms were more severe in patients with gastroparesis. GI symptom severity had the best discriminative value to identify patients with gastroparesis with an area under the receiver operating curve of 0.83 (optimal cutoff: sensitivity 87%, specificity 80%). Patients with diabetic gastroparesis have a blunted postprandial plasma glucose response. Combining this information with the presence of GI symptoms can help clinicians identify diabetic patients with gastroparesis.

Keywords: diabetic gastroparesis; gastrointestinal symptom; postprandial glucose; postprandial glucose response; test meal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Complications / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gastric Emptying
  • Gastroparesis / diagnostic imaging
  • Gastroparesis / etiology*
  • Gastroparesis / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postprandial Period*
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Blood Glucose