[*C]octanoic acid breath test to measure gastric emptying rate of solids

Dig Dis Sci. 1994 Dec;39(12 Suppl):104S-106S. doi: 10.1007/BF02300385.


We have developed a breath test to measure solid gastric emptying using a standardized scrambled egg test meal (250 kcal) labeled with [14C]octanoic acid or [13C]octanoic acid. In vitro incubation studies showed that octanoic acid is a reliable marker of the solid phase. The breath test was validated in 36 subjects by simultaneous radioscintigraphic and breath test measurements. Nine healthy volunteers were studied after intravenous administration of 200 mg erythromycin and peroral administration of 30 mg propantheline, respectively. Erythromycin significantly enhanced gastric emptying, while propantheline significantly reduced gastric emptying rates. We conclude that the [*C]octanoic breath test is a promising and reliable test for measuring the gastric emptying rate of solids.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Breath Tests
  • Caprylates*
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Eggs
  • Erythromycin / pharmacology
  • Food
  • Gastric Emptying* / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Propantheline / pharmacology
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Stomach / diagnostic imaging


  • Caprylates
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Propantheline
  • Erythromycin