Experience with esophagogastrointestinal transit scintigraphy in the initial 229 patients: Multiple regions of dysmotility are common

Harvey A. Ziessman, Mathurika Jeyasingam, Ahsan U. Khan, Zsuzsanna McMahan, Pankaj J. Pasricha

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The purpose of this investigation was to review our experience with our comprehensive esophagogastrointestinal transit study in the first 229 patients. This scintigraphic study analyzes the motility of the entire gut, from the esophagus through the rectosigmoid colon. Methods: Data were reviewed for our first 2 y of experience with this examination (184 women and 45 men aged 20-79 y [mean ± SD, 44 ± 16 y]). Patients were referred with symptoms suggestive of a motility disorder. They first swallowed 111In-diethylenetriamine-pentaacetic acid in water for the esophageal-swallow study and then 300 mL for a 30-min 111In water-only study, followed by 120 mL of 111In water simultaneously with the solid standardized 99mTc egg-substitute meal. Images and quantification were obtained for esophageal transit, water-only gastric emptying, water-with-solid gastric emptying, small-bowel transit, and colonic transit. Results: Of the 229 patient studies, 45 (20%) were normal. The remaining 184 (80%) had at least 1 region of dysmotility, for a total of 336 regions of abnormal motility. A single region of dysmotility was seen in 92 patients (50%), 2 regions in 50 (27%), 3 regions in 26 (14%), 4 regions in 12 (7%), and 5 regions in 4 (2%). There was a poor correlation between the results of the water-only study and water with the solid meal. Three different patterns of delayed colonic transit were seen. Patient symptoms were often not predictive of the scintigraphic findings. Conclusion: This study highlights the frequent occurrence of dysmotility in more than 1 region of the gastrointestinal tract in patients with a suspected motility disorder and the frequent concurrence of both upper- and lower-tract dysmotility in the same patients. It provides information to referring physicians regarding which motility disorders may be causing the patient symptoms, why the patient is or is not responding to the present therapy, and if and what additional workup and therapy may be needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-122
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Gastric scintigraphy
  • Gastrointestinal transit
  • Intestinal transit scintigraphy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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