To evaluate the prognosis of diabetic gastroparesis.


Eighty-six patients with diabetes had measurements of gastric emptying of a mixed meal using a dual isotope test of solid and liquid meal components, mean blood glucose levels, HbA1c, upper gastrointestinal symptoms and autonomic nerve function performed in 1984–1989. These patients were followed up in 2011, after a mean period of ~25 years.


Of the 86 patients, gastric emptying of solid (the percentage remaining in the stomach at 100 min) was delayed in 35 (41%), and of liquid (the time taken for 50% of the liquid to empty) was delayed in 38 (44%). In 2011, 53 patients were known to be alive, 29 had died and four were lost to follow-up. In those who had died, both age at baseline (P < 0.001) and the score for autonomic nerve dysfunction (P < 0.001) were greater than those who were alive, while there was no difference in emptying of either the solid or liquid between the two groups. When patients with delayed gastric emptying were divided according to the median value (‘delayed’ and ‘markedly delayed’), mortality tended to be greater in the ‘markedly delayed’ group for both solids (P = 0.12) and liquids (P = 0.09). Of the 82 patients who could be followed up, 23 of the 35 (66%) with delayed gastric emptying of solid and 25 of 38 (66%) with delayed gastric emptying of liquid were alive. After adjustment for age and autonomic dysfunction, there was no association between gastric emptying of either solid or liquid and death.


Over a period of ~25 years, diabetic gastroparesis is apparently not usually associated with a poor prognosis, or increased mortality.

Abbreviations: T100 min, the percentage remaining in the stomach at 100 mins; T50%, the time taken for 50% of the liquid to empty