Gastric and esophageal emptying were assessed using scintigraphic techniques in 12 patients with progressive systemic sclerosis and 22 normal volunteers. Esophageal emptying was significantly delayed in the patient group, with 7 of the 12 patients beyond the normal range. Gastric emptying was slower in patients than in controls, with 9 patients being outside the normal range for solid emptying and 7 patients outside the normal range for liquid emptying. Findings from gastric and esophageal emptying tests generally correlated well with symptoms of dysphagia and gastroesophageal reflux. However, 2 patients with normal emptying studies had symptomatic heartburn, and 2 patients with delay of both solid and liquid gastric emptying gave no history of gastroesophageal reflux. Delayed gastric emptying may be an important factor in the development of upper gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with progressive systemic sclerosis.