The purpose of the present work was to answer two questions: does the human gallbladder empty in the fasting state, and, if so, is the emptying related to a specific phase of the activity in the gastrointestinal tract? The material consisted of nine healthy volunteers and the motility recordings were done with a perfused low-compliance system. Gallbladder emptying was recorded by the use of scintigraphy with 99mTc-HIDA. Eleven activity fronts were observed, and seven periods of gallbladder emptying were recorded. Reduction in counts over the gallbladder ranged from 8% to 32%. All emptyings took place in connection with phase-II activity in the intestine. Three were in close proximity to the following phase-III activity, and the other four occurred early in a phase II. Four activity fronts were not accompanied by output of bile.
Conclusions: bile output from the gallbladder occurs in fasting humans, and gallbladder emptying takes place in connection with phase-II activity in the intestine but not always in close connection with the following phase-III activity.