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Nucl Med Commun. 2010 Apr;31(4):328-33. doi: 10.1097/MNM.0b013e328335e5a9.

Utility of whole gut transit scintigraphy in patients with chronic gastrointestinal symptoms.

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  • 1Department of Nuclear Medicine, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK.



To review our experience of doing whole gut transit scintigraphy in patients presenting with functional gastrointestinal problems and to determine its clinical usefulness.


All whole gut transit studies using a liquid meal over a 5-year-period were reviewed and clinical outcome assessed.


Fifty-five patients (44 women; mean age 43 years) underwent whole gut transit scintigraphy using indium-111 diethylene triamine penta-acetic acid in water. The main symptoms were constipation (49%), dyspepsia (25%) and diarrhoea (25%). Colonic transit was delayed in 63% of patients with constipation, which was significantly (P=0.005) higher than that in patients with dyspepsia. Delayed colonic transit was also seen in 43% of patients with diarrhoea. Only 26% of patients with constipation had a delay in liquid gastric emptying and small bowel transit. Gastric emptying, small bowel transit and colonic transit were normal in 43, 79 and 29% of patients with dyspepsia, respectively. There was no statically significant difference in gastric emptying and small bowel transit between patients with constipation, diarrhoea and dyspepsia.


Liquid-phase whole gut transit scintigraphy seems to be a useful investigation in patients with chronic gastrointestinal symptoms. Rational use of this modality may help the clinician change the management or better characterize the underlying problem/diagnosis in the majority of patients with functional symptoms.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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