• antral contractions;
  • gastric accommodation;
  • hunger;
  • migrating motor complex;
  • ultrasonography

Abstract  Strain rate imaging (SRI) is a non-invasive ultrasound (US) modality that enables the study of mechanical deformation (strain) with high spatial and temporal resolution. A total of 244 contractions in seven healthy volunteers were studied by SRI on two separate days to characterize radial strain of antral contractions in the fasting and fed states and to assess the influence of intravenous erythromycin. Gastric accommodation and emptying were assessed by 2D ultrasonography. The perception of hunger was registered by the participants. The strain increased from early to late phase II and phase III activity by (median) 18%, 58% and 82%, respectively, < 0.05. Erythromycin infusion in phase I induced contractions with median strain of 35%, but did not increase postprandial strain. Both fasting and postprandially, lumen-occlusive contractions with erythromycin were more frequent than in naturally occurring contractions, 69%vs 48%, P = 0.036 and 40%vs 5%, < 0.001 respectively. All subjects had rumbling in their abdomens when intraluminal air was detected sonographically (85% of all phase III contractions) and that rumbling was perceived by the participant as maximal awareness of hunger. SRI enabled detailed strain measurement of individual antral contractions. Erythromycin initiated fasting antral contractions and increased the number of lumen-occlusive contractions.