Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Delayed Stomach Emptying Evaluation

The evaluation of gastroparesis begins with a history and physical examination.

The physical exam in someone with gastroparesis is usually normal.

Tests are necessary to detect conditions that cause symptoms similar to gastroparesis, such as peptic ulcer disease.

Tests that may be used to evaluate gastroparesis include:

  • Complete blood count
  • Serum gastrin levels:
  • Tests for Helicobacter pylori infection:
  • Stool guaiac
  • Upper GI series: a barium x-ray study of the stomach and upper intestines
  • Barium beefsteak meal:
    • This is an x-ray test.
    • During this test, the person will eat a meal that contains barium.
    • A series of abdominal x-rays will be performed at timed intervals.
    • The amount of time it takes for the barium to leave the stomach gives the doctor an idea of how well the stomach is working.
  • Gastric emptying scan:
    • In this test, the patient eats food that contains a radioisotope.
    • This is a weekly radioactive substance that will show up on a nuclear gamma camera scan. It allows a doctor to determine how quickly the food leaves the stomach.
    • Gastroparesis is present if more than half of the food remains in the stomach after 2 hours.
  • Gastric manometry:
    • This test measures electrical and muscular activity in the stomach. A doctor passes a thin tube down the throat into the stomach. The tube contains a wire that takes measurements of the stomach's electrical and muscular activity during digestion.
    • The measurements show how the stomach is working and whether there is any delay in digestion.
  • Upper GI endoscopy:
    • Allows direct inspection of the stomach and duodenum

Continue to Delayed Stomach Emptying Treatment

Last Updated: Dec 13, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Delayed Stomach Emptying References
  1. Hasler WL. Nausea, gastroparesis, and aerophagia. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2005 May-Jun;39(4 Suppl 3):S223-9. [15798489]
  2. Jones MP, Maganti K. A systematic review of surgical therapy for gastroparesis. Am J Gastroenterol. 2003 Oct;98(10):2122-9. [14572555]
  3. Parkman HP, Hasler WL, Fisher RS; American Gastroenterological Association. American Gastroenterological Association technical review on the diagnosis and treatment of gastroparesis. Gastroenterology. 2004 Nov;127(5):1592-622. [1552102]
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