Measurements of gastric emptying of low- and high-nutrient liquids using 3D ultrasonography and scintigraphy in healthy subjects


Dr Karen Jones, University of Adelaide, Discipline of Medicine, Royal Adelaide Hospital, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.
Tel: +61 8 8222 5394; fax: +61 8 8223 3870;


Abstract  Scintigraphy represents the ‘gold standard’ for the measurement of gastric emptying. Recent studies suggest that three-dimensional (3D) ultrasonography may allow a precise measure of gastric emptying, given the capacity for accurate volume calculations of the stomach. The aim of this study was to compare measurements of gastric emptying of both low- and high-nutrient drinks by 3D ultrasonography with scintigraphy. Ten healthy young subjects (6M, 4F, age 23.5 ± 1.5 years) were studied on 2 days. Concurrent measurements of gastric emptying by scintigraphy and 3D ultrasonography were performed after ingestion of 500 mL beef soup (12 kcal) or 300 ml dextrose (25% w/v) (314 kcal) labelled with 20 MBq 99mTc-sulphur colloid. There was no significant difference between scintigraphic and ultrasonographic 50% emptying times (T50s) (soup: 27.7 ± 4.8 min vs 23.8. ± 4.8 min; dextrose: 122.2 ± 13.3 min vs 131.9 ± 10.2 min). There was a close correlation between scintigraphic and ultrasonographic T50s for both soup (r = 0.92, P = 0.0005) and dextrose (r = 0.88, P = 0.0007). For the T50s, the limits of agreement were −15.2 min and +8.1 min for the soup (mean difference −3.6 min) and −35.3 min and +47.6 min for dextrose (mean difference +6.2 min). 3D ultrasonography provides a valid measure of gastric emptying of liquid meals in healthy subjects.