The gastric emptying of the liquid phase of a meal and the fasting antral contractility were studied in 13 patients with reflux esophagitis and in 9 age-matched control subjects. Gastric emptying half-time (t 1/2) in reflux esophagitis patients was no different from that of control subjects (P less than 0.30). Antral contractility (number of antral contractions and the cumulative antral activity), however, was lower in reflux esophagitis patients than in control subjects (P less than 0.001). Oral metoclopramide (15 mg) accelerated gastric emptying, increased the number of antral contractions as well as the cumulative antral activity in patients with reflux esophagitis (P less than 0.001). However, it only increased the cumulative antral activity in normal subjects (P less than 0.01). These results suggest that metoclopramide may be potentially beneficial to reflux esophagitis patients by reducing the volume of gastric contents available for gastroesophageal reflux.