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A Modified Sonographic Technique for Assessment of Gastric Emptying of Liquid


Jan Fog Pedersen, Department of Radiology, Glostrup Hospital, DK-2600 Glostrup, Denmark.
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Purpose:  Ultrasound scanning is replacing scintigraphy in studies of gastric emptying of liquid, but both have considerable day-to-day variability. This study describes a modified ultrasound technique for assessing gastric emptying of liquid, and evaluates the inter- and intraindividual variation in emptying time.

Material and Methods:  On different days, each of 12 healthy volunteers had meals of 350 ml broth. The antral area was measured at sonography 5 times before the meal as a baseline, and every 1–4 min after the meal. The time until the antral area had decreased to 150% of baseline (T150) was determined and used as surrogate expression of gastric emptying time.

Results:  The mean T150 for a broth meal was 12.6 min (range 5–21) and 13.5 min (6–23) (first and second meal, respectively). The standard deviation of the differences between the 12 pairs of repeated measurements was 3.1 min and the coefficient of variation was 24%.

Conclusion:  Ultrasound monitoring of antral size after a liquid meal is a well suited method for assessing gastric emptying of liquid.