Use of scintigraphy to evaluate gastric accommodation and emptying: Comparison with barostat



Professor Hiroto Miwa, Division of Upper Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Hyogo College of Medicine, 1-1, Mukogawa-cho, Nishinomiya, Hyogo 663-8501, Japan. Email:


Background and Aim

Scintigraphy is a useful noninvasive technique for assessment of gastric motility, especially emptying, but there is little knowledge of use of the technique to assess gastric accommodation. Therefore, to clarify the usefulness of scintigraphy as a technique for assessing gastric accommodation, we compared scintigraphy with barostat, the gold standard modality.


Twenty healthy volunteers (14 men, six women; mean age, 28.5 ± 5.4 years) were enrolled in the study. The volunteers ingested a radiolabeled (99mTc) test meal and scintigraphic images were recorded. Radioactivity in the upper third and whole stomach was calculated to evaluate accommodation. In the barostat procedure, gastric accommodation was evaluated by measuring the maximum volume of the distended balloon. Thereafter, correlation between scintigraphic and barostat accommodation was investigated. Intra-and inter-observer variation of the scintigraphic test results were also assessed. Finally, the diagnostic performance of scintigraphy was evaluated by using sumatriptan as a positive control.


Measurements of accommodation by scintigraphy and barostat correlated (r = 0.524, P < 0.05). Sumatriptan significantly increased scintigraphically measured gastric accommodation (with sumatriptan, 51.5 ± 16.4%; without sumatriptan, 38.4 ± 13.8%) (P < 0.01), and had significantly (P < 0.05) delayed 50% half emptying time at 60, 90, 120, and 150 min after the start of the experiment. The data from repeated scintigraphic tests were highly reproducible (r = 0.804) with significant differences not observed among the investigators (inter-observer variation = 0.932, intra-observer variation = 0.898).


Gastric scintigraphy is a useful technique for assessing gastric accommodation and emptying.