The added diagnostic value of liquid gastric emptying compared with solid emptying alone

Harvey A. Ziessman, Ankit Chander, John O. Clarke, Alison Ramos, Richard L. Wahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


The medical literature states that solid gastric-emptying studies are more sensitive for the detection of gastroparesis than are liquid studies; thus, liquid studies are rarely required. However, we have seen patients with normal solid but delayed liquid emptying. The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether a study of clear liquid gastric empting has added value for the diagnosis of gastroparesis over a study of solid emptying alone. Methods: A total of 101 patients underwent both solid and liquid gastric-emptying studies, acquired sequentially on the same day. A 30-min (1-min frames) liquid study (300 mL of water with 7.4 MBq [0.2 mCi] of 111In- diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid) was followed by a standardized 4-h solid-meal study (a 99mTc-sulfur colloid-labeled egg-substitute sandwich meal). Emptying was quantified as a best-fit exponential emptying rate (T1/2) for liquids and percentage emptying at 4 h for solid empting. Thirty healthy volunteers underwent a study of clear liquid emptying to establish normal values. The results of the liquid and solid studies were compared. 111In liquid downscatter into the subsequent 99mTc solid meal results was analyzed. Results: The upper range of normal for clear liquid emptying (T1/2) for healthy volunteers was 22 min (mean 6 3 SDs) and 19 min (mean 6 2 SDs). Of 101 patients, delayed emptying was found in 36% of liquid and 16% of solid studies. Of all patients with normal solid emptying, 32% had delayed liquid emptying. 111In downscatter into the 99mTc window was not generally significant. Conclusion: For the detection of gastroparesis, a 30-min study of clear liquid gastric-emptying has considerable added diagnostic value over a study of solid emptying alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)726-731
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Gastric emptying
  • Gastroparesis
  • Stomach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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