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Gastroenterology. 1997 Jul;113(1):38-49.

Intragastric distribution and gastric emptying assessed by three-dimensional ultrasonography.

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Medical Department A, Haukeland Hospital, University of Bergen, Norway.



Three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound imaging of the total stomach volume has not yet been achieved. The aim of this study was to investigate whether a magnetic position sensor system for acquisition of 3D ultrasonograms could be used to determine gastric emptying rates and intragastric distribution.


A system for position and orientation measurement was interfaced to an ultrasound scanner. In vitro accuracy was evaluated by scanning a porcine stomach. Fourteen volunteers, with a median age of 35 years, were scanned fasting and postcibally by two-dimensional (2D) and 3D ultrasound after ingesting a 500-mL soup meal.


This 3D system yielded a strong correlation (r = 0.997) between true and estimated volumes in vitro. The limits of agreement were -9.1:70.1 mL in the volume range 1200-1900 mL. The intersubject variability of the total gastric volumes ranged from 12.5% to 46.0%, less than for antral area variability. The average half-emptying time was 22.1 +/- 3.8 minutes. Intragastric distribution of the meal, expressed as proximal distal volume, varied on average from 3.6 +/- 2.1 (5 minutes postpradially) to 2.7 +/- 1.9 (30 minutes postprandially).


This 3D ultrasound system using magnetic scanhead tracking showed excellent in vitro accuracy, calculated gastric emptying rates more precisely than by 2D ultrasound, and enabled estimation of intragastric distribution of a soup meal.

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