Definition of Stomach emptying study

Stomach emptying study: Also called a gastric emptying study, this test evaluates the emptying of food from the stomach.

For a gastric emptying study, a patient eats a meal in which the solid food, liquid food or both are mixed with a small amount of radioactive material. A scanner (acting like a Geiger counter) is placed over the stomach to monitor the amount of radioactivity in the stomach for several hours after the test meal.

In patients with abnormal emptying of the stomach, the food and radioactive material stay in the stomach longer than normal (usually hours) before emptying into the small intestine.


Last Editorial Review: 8/28/2013

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