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J Ultrasound Med. 1999 Oct;18(10):673-82.

Measurement of gastric emptying by standardized real-time ultrasonography in healthy subjects and diabetic patients.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Lund, Malmö University Hospital, Sweden.


The aim of this study was to simplify and standardize a reproducible, well-tolerated and clinically applicable method for the assessment of gastric emptying rate by real-time ultrasonography. A total of 33 subjects were examined, including 19 healthy subjects and 14 patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and clinically suspected delayed gastric emptying. Measurements of the gastric antrum were taken in the supine position and in relation to internal landmarks to obtain a standardized cross-sectional image producing the area of a selected slice of the antrum. Diabetic patients were examined on the condition that the fasting blood glucose level was 3.5 to 9.0 mmol/l. Gastric emptying rate was estimated and expressed as the percentage reduction in antral cross-sectional area from 15 to 90 min after the ingestion of a standardized semisolid breakfast meal (300 g rice pudding, 330 kcal). Interobserver and intraobserver measurement errors were assessed, as was the significance of age and sex on gastric emptying. In comparison to healthy subjects, diabetic patients showed significantly wider median values of the 90 min postprandial antral area, but only a mild tendency toward greater dilation of the gastric antrum prior to and 15 min after meal ingestion. The median value of gastric emptying rate in these diabetic patients was estimated at 29%, which was less than half of that in the healthy subjects (63%). Statistically the difference was highly significant. Interpersonal variability of gastric emptying rate and antral areas was large for both groups. Measurements of gastric emptying rate gave highly reproducible results on separate days and from different observers (interobserver systematic measurement error 0.3% and random measurement error 10.9%; intraobserver systematic measurement error 3.6% and random measurement error 9.5%). No difference in gastric emptying rate was found related to age or sex. We conclude that the use of standardized real-time ultrasonography to determine gastric antral cross-sectional area in a single section of the stomach is a valid method for estimating gastric emptying rate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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