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Gastric emptying test

Gastric emptying scan

An important part of the investigation and future management of your stomach condition

About Gastric emptying test

This test measures the time it takes for your stomach to empty food into your small intestine. It allows the consultant to determine if the emptying of your stomach is normal or slow. The results assist your consultant in planning appropriate treatment for your specific case.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    You will be asked some questions relating to how your stomach works and the problems you have been experiencing. You will need to sign a consent form. You will be asked to provide a breath sample by blowing into a foil bag. You will then eat a snack of either porridge or an egg sandwich. If you have any special requirements let us know and we can accommodate this. The snack contains a safe chemical which is digested with the food and excreted by the lungs when you breathe out. By measuring how much of the chemical is in your breath over time your consultant can estimate how well your stomach is emptying. The test takes four and a half hours.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    You may be required to stop all stomach medication such as proton pump inhibitors and antacids for 24 hours before the test. You should stop all pro-motility agents 72 hours beforehand. You should not have anything to eat for six hours before the test. You can drink up to 250ml of water (half a pint) on the morning of your test. There is no reason why the tests should have any adverse effects. You may expect the same symptoms that you usually experience after eating a snack.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    Once the test has finished you will be allowed to go home immediately. You will be able to eat and drink normally and do not need to take any special precautions. If you continue to experience any ongoing symptoms after the test you are welcome to contact the team for advice.
Consultant with patient

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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