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Gastric Emptying

What is a Liquid or Solid Gastric Emptying exam?

A Liquid or Solid Gastric Emptying exam is a test that measures the rate of digestion of solid or liquid food by the stomach.

This exam requires the use of a radiopharmaceutical mixed in food that will be eaten by your child.

Prior to the exam:

Your child may not have anything to eat or drink for four hours prior to the exam.

Your child should not receive barium (contrast agent) 48 hours prior to the exam.

A grilled cheese sandwich is typically used for the solid exam. If your child has an allergy to dairy products, please contact the Nuclear Medicine Department ahead of time at 205-638-9667.

If your doctor has ordered a liquid gastric emptying exam, milk or formula will be used.

If your child has a gastrostomy tube, please bring formula and all necessary supplies needed for a bolus feeding.

We have a large variety of video entertainment to choose from, however, your child can also bring along his/her favorite DVD to watch during the exam.

You may want to bring a snack or drink for your child to have after the exam.

Note: Parents/guardians will be allowed to accompany their child into the exam room.

When you arrive:

You must check in to Imaging Registration, on the first floor of the Benjamin Russell Building 45 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment in order to register.

Once the registration process is completed, a technologist will greet you and escort you to the nuclear medicine examination room. 

During the exam:

Your child will be required to eat a grilled cheese sandwich (or drink milk/formula)) mixed with the radioactive material.
There are no side effects and the radioactive material will not change the taste of the sandwich.

Your child will need to eat the meal within ten minutes.

After eating, your child will be positioned on our table and scanned. The exam will take approximately one hour

Your child will need to be still for the pictures.

At the end of the hour the technologist will calculate your child’s gastric emptying time. If it is within normal limits you will be able to leave at that time. If it is not within normal limits, an additional, image will be required, 1 hour later.

After the exam:

There are no special instructions for your child to follow upon completion of this procedure.

Test Results:

The images from your child's exam are interpreted by a pediatric radiologist and a report is sent to your physician's office.

If your physician has any questions regarding the report, he/she may call 205-638-9730.

Question or concern about your child’s exam?