Gastric Empty Study

Below is a list of some frequently asked questions, but feel free to contact us if you need additional information. We are always pleased to assist you.

Why did my doctor order a Gastric Empty Study?

The doctor probably suspects that you are digesting your food very slowly. This usually happens because the muscles in the walls of your stomach are less active than they should be. This is a common problem for people with diabetes but it can affect anyone. Common symptoms are nausea, bloating, gas pains and vomiting.

What do I have to do before the test?

The only preparation for the test is to have NOTHING to eat or drink for 6 to 12 hours . For this reason we usually tell patients not to eat after midnight and we try to schedule the test for the morning, usually about 9:00 am.

How is the test performed?

You will be given scrambled eggs, milk and two slices of bread to eat. The eggs have been treated with a radioactive tracer. Like getting an X-ray, you can’t see it, you can’t taste it and it will not effect you. After you eat the eggs, we will proceed to take images with our gamma camera. We will take one image every 15 minutes, for 2 hours. The entire test takes about 2.5 hours.

What are the risks of the test?

An allergic reaction to the tracer is extraordinarily rare. By eating the eggs, the patient is exposed to a small dose of radiation similar to that obtained from an X-ray study.

What are the alternatives to the test?

There are no alternatives to this test that give exactly the same information but similar information can be obtained with an upper endoscopy.

What can I expect after the procedure?

There are no after-effects from a Gastric Empty Study. The radioactivity in the body disappears quickly and is gone in 48 hours. Perhaps an upper endoscopy, CT or MRI will be recommended.