Background: By means of duplex sonography, gastric emptying can be related to antral motor activity. The aim of this study was to examine gastric emptying in relation to antral contractions during and immediately after ingestion of a liquid meal in healthy subjects and to study the effect of glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) on this early phase of gastric emptying.
Methods: Ten healthy, non-smoking men (median age, 36 years; range, 29-41 years) were studied twice on separate days, once without drug administration and once after taking a 0.5-mg sublingual GTN tablet 3 min before ingesting 500 ml of a meat soup (20 kcal; Toro). The subjects were investigated during 3 min of fasting, during 3 min of drinking the soup, and during the first 10 min postprandially.
Results: Transpyloric forward flow commenced on average 80 sec and 95 sec after the start of drinking the soup without and with GTN, respectively (P = NS). Non-contractile, pulsatile transpyloric flow (that is, pendulating, transpyloric flow not associated with antral contractions) occurred during episodes of concurrent relaxation of the terminal antrum, the pylorus, and the duodenal bulb. This type of flow occurred mainly just before the start of contractile, pulsatile transpyloric flow (associated with propulsive antral contractions). Initial non-contractile, pulsatile transpyloric flow before commencement of contractile, pulsatile transpyloric flow lasted longer with GTN (188 sec) than without GTN (25 sec) (P < 0.05). Consequently, contractile, pulsatile transpyloric flow commenced later with GTN (302 sec) than without (102 sec) (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Non-contractile transpyloric flow seems to be a physiologic phenomenon during the early phase of gastric emptying. GTN prolongs the initial phase of non-contractile, and delays the onset of contractile, pulsatile transpyloric flow.