Electrogastrographic norms in children: Toward the development of standard methods, reproducible results, and reliable normative data

Joseph Levy, Jennifer Harris, Jiande Chen, Dan Sapoznikov, Benita Riley, Wendy De La Nuez, Anna Khaskelberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: Surface electrogastrography (EGG) is a noninvasive technique that detects gastric myoelectrical electric activity, principally the underlying pacemaker activity generated by the specialized interstitial cells of Cajal. Interest in the use of this methodology has grown because of its potential applications in describing functional gastrointestinal disorders, particularly as a tool in the evaluation of nausea, anorexia, and other dyspeptic symptoms. Methods: Fifty-five healthy volunteers (27 female), ranging in age from 6 to 18 years (mean, 11.7 years), were studied for a 1-hour baseline preprandial period and a 1-hour postprandial period after consumption of a standard 448-kcal meal. Recordings were obtained with an EGG Digitrapper or modified Polygraph (Medtronic-Synectics, Shoreview, MN). Spectral analysis by an autoregressive moving average method was used to extract numerical data on the power and frequency of gastric electrical activity from the EGG signal. Results: The authors present normative data for healthy children and adolescents studied under a standardized protocol. Mean dominant frequency was found to be 2.9 ± 0.40 cycles per minute preprandially and 3.1 ± 0.35 postprandially, with 80% ± 13% of test time spent in the normogastric range (2-4 cycles per minute) before and 85% ± 11% after the test meal. The response of several key parameters to meal consumption was considered, and the effects of age, gender, and body mass index (BMI) on the EGG were sought. Conclusions: There is a postprandial increase in the rhythmicity and amplitude of gastric slow waves, as other investigators have shown in adults. Key normative values are not dependent on age, gender, or BMI. The authors discuss limitations in the data set and its interpretability. The authors establish a normative data set after developing a standardized recording protocol and test meal and show that EGG recordings can be obtained reliably in the pediatric population. Development of similar norms by investigators using the EGG is crucial for future exploration of the validity and clinical application of the EGG. Differences in test conditions of signal detection and analytic methods influence EGG results substantially, and caution should be used when comparing results across centers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-461
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Body mass index
  • Electrogastrography
  • Normal values
  • Pediatric studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Gastroenterology


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