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Keywords:

  • inter-subject;
  • intra-subject;
  • reproducibility;
  • variation

Abstract

Background  Gastric emptying (GE) is measured in pharmacodynamic and diagnostic studies. Our aim was to assess inter- and intra-subject coefficients of variation (COV) of scintigraphic GE measurements in healthy subjects, and associations of GE with gender and body mass index (BMI).

Methods  Data from participants with scintigraphic measurements of gastric emptying of solids were analyzed. Primary endpoints were gastric emptying T1/2 (GE T1/2) and GE at 1, 2, 3, and 4 h.

Key Results  The patient cohort consisted of 105 males and 214 females; at least two studies were performed in 47 subjects [16 males (M), 32 females (F)]. Inter-subject COV (COVinter) for GE T1/2 were similar in M and F: overall 24.5% (M 26.0%, F 22.5%); COV are predictably lowest for GE at 4 h (COVinter 9.6%). COVintra for T1/2 and GE at 4 h were overall 23.8% and 12.6%, and were similar to COVinter values. Gender (but not age or BMI) was significantly associated with GE T1/2 [P < 0.001, F 127.6 ± 28.7 (SD) min; M 109.9 ± 28.6 min] and with GE at 1 h and 2 h. Repeat GE T1/2 values in 47 participants were significantly correlated (r = 0.459, P < 0.001) with median difference of −6 min (mean −1.6, range −56 to 72 min). Bland–Altman plots showed Δ GE T1/2 similarly distributed across mean GE T1/2 100–155 min, and across studies conducted 90–600 days apart.

Conclusions & Inferences  Inter-subject variations in scintigraphic GE results are only slightly higher than the intra-subject measurements, which are also reproducible over time in healthy volunteers. Gender, but not BMI, is significantly associated with GE results.