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J Clin Gastroenterol. 2001 May-Jun;32(5):394-9.

Gastric emptying characteristics of a novel (13)C-octanoate-labeled muffin meal.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-0362, USA.



Determine the gastric emptying characteristics of a novel, 350-kcal test meal consisting of two muffins, using scintigraphy and the 13C-octanoate breath test (OBT).


Healthy volunteers underwent three studies on separate days within a 1-week period. On day 1, we measured emptying of the 350-kcal muffin test meal labeled simultaneously with 99mTc sulfur colloid and 13C-octanoate. On day 2, reproducibility of the OBT using a single-labeled 350-kcal test meal was assessed. On day 3, the effect of erythromycin on the 350-kcal OBT was determined.


The mean (+/-SD) half-emptying time (T1/2) as measured by scintigraphy was 104 +/- 24 minutes, versus 212 +/- 52 minutes by OBT. There was a strong correlation between T1/2 determined by scintigraphy and the breath test (r = 0.83). Multiple linear regression analysis identified a significant relationship between T1/2 determined by scintigraphy and the 90-and 180-minute breath samples. There was a strong correlation (r = 0.830, slope = 0.732 +/- 0.120 [SE], intercept = 26.4 +/- 12.7) between the T1/2 obtained using the regression equation and the actual T1/2 obtained by scintigraphy. The mean T1/2 (+/-SD) for replicate determinations using the OBT was 209 +/- 52 minutes, compared with 196 +/- 42 minutes on days 1 and 2, respectively (not significant, p = 0.28, paired Student t test). Treatment with erythromycin on day 3 produced a significant decrease in T1/2 (155 +/- 49 minutes, p = 0.002).


The 350-kcal muffin meal OBT provides a convenient, nonscintigraphic way of measuring solid-phase gastric emptying. Multiple linear regression appears promising as a method of analyzing OBT data and may allow for an abbreviated breath test protocol.

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