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Am J Med Sci. 1999 Jan;317(1):33-7.

Does local irradiation affect gastric emptying in humans?

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  • 1Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Newton, Massachusetts, USA.


The authors measured gastric emptying in 13 patients undergoing radiation therapy to the chest, abdomen, or pelvis for nongastrointestinal cancer to investigate whether gastric emptying (GE) was altered by this therapy. Symptoms and weight were monitored at regular intervals. Patients served as their own controls and were compared to a group of healthy subjects. When studied prior to radiation therapy (baseline), cancer patients had a gastric emptying rate that was similar to a healthy control group (t1/2 mean+/-SEM 92.0+/-15.3 vs. 80.4+/-8.2 min). Irradiation did not change the emptying rate, either after the first dose (early) of 180 cGy (t1/2 99.5+/-17.9) or after 2 weeks of therapy (late) with 3000 cGy (t1/2 75.5+/-7.3). There was no correlation of radiation field or tumor type with gastric emptying rate. Two of the 13 patients experienced nausea and vomiting during their course of radiation, but their gastric emptying was unchanged from baseline.

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