Erythromycin increases gastric emptying but the characteristics of transpyloric flow and the contribution of pyloric resistance to the mechanisms of increased flow are unknown. Transpyloric outflow and gastroduodenal pressures were studied in eight anaesthetized pigs during intravenous infusion of erythromycin (10 mg kg-1). Erythromycin increased emptying of saline through an increased stroke volume of individual flow pulses (13.7 +/- 1.24 vs. 3.6 +/- 1.30 mL) rather than by decreasing the interval between flow pulses (3.9 +/- 0.55 vs. 3.2 +/- 0.30 pulse.min-1). This flow pattern was associated with more frequent antral contractions of larger amplitude originating from the upper part of the gastric antrum, suppression of isolated pyloric pressure waves and significant reduction of the pyloric resistance to flow (2.3 +/- 0.21 vs. 4.6 +/- 0.46 mmHg mL-1 s-1). The decreased resistance originated from a different temporal relationship between antropyloric pressure event and flow pulses that occurred almost simultaneously during erythromycin.