Low antroduodenal pressure gradients are responsible for gastric emptying of a low-caloric liquid meal in humans


Trygve Hausken MD, PhD Division of Gastroenterology, Medical Department, Haukeland University Hospital, 5021 Bergen, Norway. Tel.: + 47 55972134; fax: + 47 55972950; e-mail: tryh@haukeland.no


The motor mechanisms responsible for transpyloric flow of gastric contents are still poorly understood. The aim of our study was to investigate the relationship between luminal pressures and gastric wall motion and between gastroduodenal pressure gradients and pressure waves, and ante- and retro-grade transpyloric flow. In eight healthy volunteers, intraluminal pressures were recorded from the antrum and proximal duodenum. Transpyloric flow was monitored simultaneously using duplex ultrasonography, before, during and after ingestion of 300 mL meat soup. Transpyloric emptying occurred as sequences of alternating periods of emptying–reflux–emptying. Approximately one-third of the sequences were not associated with peristalsis. The antroduodenal pressure gradients were significantly lower during nonperistaltic-related emptying than during peristaltic-related emptying (0.15 (0–0.3) kPa, and 1.7 (0.2–2.0) kPa, respectively [mean ± (range)], P < 0.005). The duration of emptying episodes not associated with peristalsis were significantly longer than those associated with peristalsis at (6.5 (3–8.7) s and 4.4 (2–6) s, respectively, P=0.059). Manometry detected only 56% of the antral contractions seen on ultrasound. We concluded that gastric emptying of a low-calorie liquid meal occurs both during peristaltic and nonperistaltic antral activity. In spite of lower antroduodenal pressure gradients, the emptying episodes were longer for nonperistaltic emptying, which is likely to be caused by low pyloric resistance. Considerable flow seems to occur without peristalsis during gastric emptying of a low-calorie, liquid meal in humans.