This paper describes an ultrasound method of assessing gastric emptying time based on measurements of the gastric antrum, which is visible in almost all subjects before and after meals. A total of 54 subjects were examined including 18 normal subjects and 36 subjects with idiopathic functional dyspepsia. The emptying time was determined in all subjects by measuring the changes in the cross-sectional area of the gastric antrum. In a subgroup of 34 subjects the volume of the whole antropyloric region was also considered. Measurements were taken by the same observer after fasting and at regular 30-min intervals after a standard 800-cal meal. Final emptying time (calculated in relation to the start of the meal) was considered to be the time at which the antral area or volume returned to basal value. Final emptying time (mean +/- SD) was 248 +/- 39 min in normal subjects and 359 +/- 64 min in patients with functional dyspepsia (p less than 0.001). A significantly higher degree of dilatation of the gastric antrum was found in dyspeptic patients than in control subjects. Barium x-ray of the stomach in 19 subjects always confirmed the ultrasound finding on the presence or absence of contents within the stomach. We conclude that this kind of ultrasound study of the antropyloric region allows accurate determination of total gastric emptying time.