National survey of radionuclide gastric emptying studies

Can J Gastroenterol. 1997 May-Jun;11(4):317-21. doi: 10.1155/1997/959482.


A survey was mailed to all institutions in Canada licensed to use radiopharmaceuticals. Questions addressed meal type; mode of preparation; and means, ranges and SD of emptying times. Seventy-eight per cent of 222 facilities responded, including all 55 teaching centres. Eighty-five per cent of teaching and 56% of nonteaching centres perform solid phase gastric emptying studies (GES). The majority use 99mTc sulphur colloid (Tc-SC) added to eggs before cooking as the standard meal. Twenty-five per cent of teaching and 21% of nonteaching centres perform liquid phase GES. Most use a watery solution of 111Indiethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid. Gastric emptying for solid phase GES, expressed as time for 50% emptying (mean t1/2), varied from 42 to 105 mins for centres using the Tc-SC egg meal. Twenty-eight per cent of teaching centres used +/- 2 SD to define their normal range, 26% used +/- 1 SD, 6% used +/- 1.5 SD, and 40% did not know the number of SD used. Twenty per cent of nonteaching centres used +/- 2 SD, 12% used +/- 1 SD and 68% did not know how many SD were used. For liquid phase GES, mean t1/2 varied from 20 to 60 mins. Eighteen per cent of centres used healthy volunteers to establish or validate normal ranges. There is substantial variability among the normal ranges for radionuclide solid and liquid phase GES in both teaching and nonteaching centres across Canada. A minority of facilities have established or validated their own normal ranges in healthy volunteers. There is a need for a more standardized protocol and range of normal, with internal validation by each institution.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Gastric Emptying*
  • Gastroenterology / methods
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Stomach / diagnostic imaging*
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sulfur Colloid


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sulfur Colloid