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Gastric Emptying Study

Procedure:

  • You have been referred for a Gastric Emptying Study in which we can determine the function of your stomach

  • The most common reason for having this test are:

    • to evaluate Gastric outlet obstruction.

    • to diagnose Gastroparesis (impaired stomach muscle function).

  • You are required to fast at least 8 hours prior the test.

  • You will be given a meal of Cornflakes, Milk and Sugar to eat.

  • We add a tracer to the cornflakes which makes them slightly radioactive.

  • This tracer is called 99mTc-DTPA (99m-Technetium diethylene-triamine-penta-acetic acid). The tracer is harmless, has no taste and no side-effects.

  • The Cornflakes meal tastes exactly the same as if it had no tracer in it.

  • Once you have eaten the Cornflakes, you lay on a bed for 1 hour while a Gamma Camera(1) takes images of your stomach.

  • You need to lay relatively still during this 1 hour.

  • You receive a slight radiation dose by having a Gastric Emptying Study ~ up to 0.4 times your yearly background radiation (2).

 

Patient Preparation:

  • If you are pregnant, trying to fall pregnant or breast feeding, you must inform our staff.

  • You must fast from midnight before the test. A minimum of 8 hours should be observed if having the test later in the day.

  • Do not take medications that effect the rate of gastric emptying. These may include:

    • pain relieving medications (delay emptying)

    • anticholinergic medications (delay emptying)

    • metoclopramide (speed emptying)

    • erythromycin (speed emptying)

  • ​If you are unsure, please contact your doctor or our department to discuss.

  • If you have had prior imaging e.g. PET, Nuclear Scan, CT, MRI, X-Ray, Ultrasound, etc... please bring these with you.

  • Please also bring your referral and any blood results that you may have had done.

  • Wear comfortable clothing and minimise the amount of metal jewellery you have on (all metal objects will need to be removed prior to imaging).

  • Important Note: You cannot have this test if you have had a PET or Nuclear Scan within 24 hours prior to this test. If you have had Iodine-131 therapy, allow 4-weeks before having this test. Please ring to discuss booking options.​

 

Breast-Feeding Mothers: Once you have been given the tracer, you need to stop breast-feeding for two feeds. During this time, you need to express and discard your breast milk. You will need to bottle-feed your child during this period.

 

(1) A Gamma Camera is a device that detects gamma-rays (gamma-rays are very similar to x-rays) and does not emit any radiation.

(2) We all receive a yearly background radiation dose ~ 2.4mSv. Gastric Emptying Study ~ 1.0mSv = 0.42 times yearly background dose.

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