Gastric emptying flow curves separated from carbon-labeled octanoic acid breath test results

Am J Physiol. 1998 Jul;275(1):G169-75. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.1998.275.1.G169.


Recently, we developed the [13/14C]octanoic acid breath test to measure gastric emptying of solids. Although the method has been validated extensively, absorption, metabolism, and excretion of the label in the breath need to be corrected for. In this study a mathematical model was developed that allows for 1) separation of the global CO2 excretion after ingestion of the labeled test meal into the emptying rate of the labeled test meal from mouth to pylorus and the postgastric processing of absorption, metabolism, and excretion of the label, and 2) numerical calculation of the half-emptying time and lag phase of the emptied meal. The model was applied to the gastric emptying results obtained by simultaneous scintigraphic and breath test measurements. An excellent correlation was found between the gastric half-emptying time (r = 0.98) and lag phase (r = 0.85) determined scintigraphically and via breath test. There was also a good agreement between the two methods [mean values and confidence limits for differences: t1/2 = 10 min (-20 to 41) and tlag = -3 min (-39 to 34)]. Moreover, the separated gastric emptying curves, lacking the influence of postgastric processing of the label, showed real patterns of gastric outflow, which changes from moment to moment.

MeSH terms

  • Breath Tests / methods*
  • Caprylates
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Eating
  • Gastric Emptying*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Biological
  • Pylorus
  • Radioisotope Dilution Technique
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Time Factors


  • Caprylates
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • octanoic acid