Gastric Emptying Study

Also known as: GE reflux study, gastric emptying scan, gastric emptying test.

What is a gastric emptying study?

A gastric emptying study is a test that may be performed if a digestive problem such as vomiting or stomach pain is present. The test measures the amount of time it takes for food to leave the stomach and enter the small intestine.

What happens during the procedure?

  • The patient ingests a small, safe amount of radioactive material along with a standard meal or liquid.
  • The patient then enters of room with a scanner that looks like a large camera.
  • While the patient rests, the scanner takes images of the stomach and intestines repeatedly over the course of a few hours.
  • The radioactive material makes it easier for the scanner to detect how food or liquid is exiting the stomach.

Is any special preparation needed?

The patient may need to avoid foods, drinks and certain medications for a period of time before the test.

What are the risk factors?

There is a slight risk of a reaction to the radioactive material given to the patient, but this risk is very minor.

Reviewed by: Carrie Firestone Baum, MD

This page was last updated on: April 22, 2021 02:13 PM

Pediatric Gastroenterology

The Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is dedicated to the treatment of a wide variety of gastrointestinal problems in infants, children and adolescents with a multidisciplinary approach.

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