Gastric Emptying Study

Let’s say you’ve been having some tummy troubles and your doctor has ordered a gastric emptying study. You have never had one of these studies so you are a bit nervous because you don’t know what to expect. No worries, I just had one done and I’m here to let you know what you can expect.

The first thing you need to know is that this study takes about four hours and there will be a lot of waiting time. Make sure to clear your day and bring along a book, crochet, phone, pillow, kitchen sink…or whatever you need to help pass the time.

Be prepared to stop taking any pain medications at least 48 hours prior to your test. Also, you will need to completely fast (and I mean absolutely no ingestion of anything whatsoever, food, water, pills, anything at all) for 8 to 12 hours prior to the test.

When you first arrive they may ask you to fill out a quick questionnaire that will ask things like what your symptoms are, if you are diabetic, what medications you take, if you followed the preparations for the test, etc.

You will be happy to know that the next thing they will do is feed you! I was given scrambled eggs, two slices of white bread toast with jam, and 9 oz. of water. The food is laced with a small amount of radioactive isotopes. This stuff makes the scans of your stomach clear enough to see the food activity.

They will tell you not to eat or drink anything else until the test is completed.

As soon as you are done eating they will do the first scan. You will be asked to stand between two imaging screens. You need to stand still for one whole minute while the picture is taken.

Then you are sent to the waiting room to pass thirty minutes of time…

After thirty minutes another scan is done, more standing still for one minute.

Then you are sent to wait for thirty more minutes…

After thirty minutes you are scanned again.

Then you are sent to wait for one whole hour…I hope your book is a good one…

After one hour you are scanned again.

Then you are sent to wait for two complete hours…Your blanket you are crocheting is just about done, right?

After two hours they finally do the last scan and now all you have to do is go home and wait for the results.

Good luck! 🙂

3 thoughts on “Gastric Emptying Study”

    1. I do have gastroparesis. My doctor ordered this test because I had never had it done before. My previous GI doctor had diagnosed me based solely on my symptoms. My current doctor has no doubts that I do have gastroparesis, he just wants to know how severe, I guess.


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