Functional dyspepsia is a common disorder with a diverse pathophysiological background, but the role of motility disorders in functional dyspepsia remains unclear. We aimed to quantify the relationship between disturbed gastric emptying and functional dyspepsia, using a meta-analytic approach. Through a structured literature search of Medline and Embase from 1983 to 1996, we selected all studies in which scintigraphic solid-phase gastric emptying was measured in both functional dyspeptic patients and controls. Seventeen studies involving 868 dyspeptic patients and 397 controls were pooled. Gastric emptying in patients with functional dyspepsia was 1.46 (1.23-1.69) times slower than controls; the proportion of patients with abnormally slow emptying was either 37% (34-40%, simple numeric pooling) or 39% (29-49%, weighted pooling). We conclude that gastric emptying of solids in patients with functional dyspepsia is 1.5 times slower than in healthy controls and that a significant delay of emptying is present in almost 40% of patients with functional dyspepsia.