A Gastric Emptying study measures the rate at which your child’s stomach empties. Your child will eat food that has been mixed with an odorless tasteless medicine called a radiopharmaceutical. To achieve the most accurate results, the optimum method for this exam is to tag the radiopharmaceutical to egg whites and serve the meal with toast and water. In the case of a documented egg allergy, an alternate meal may be required at the radiologist’s discretion. For patients that are not yet consuming solid food, a protein-based formula may be used instead.
In preparation for this exam, your child may not eat or drink anything, including water or medications, for 6 hours prior to your appointment time. If your child is less than 6 months old, the food/drink restriction is lessened to 4 hours. Your child must also have not had a study that uses barium within 48 hours of this exam. Please be aware that all birth assigned females 10 years of age or older will need to submit a urine sample prior to imaging. A sample cup will be provided at the 5th floor check in desk.
Your child will be asked to finish eating in 15 minutes to ensure that the first image is a true reflection of the contents of the stomach. If your child is able, they will be asked to stand for 2 minutes at a time for imaging. For children who cannot stand straight and still, an alternative method of imaging may be needed. Please speak to the Nuclear Medicine department if this is the case. These two-minute images will be taken at various time intervals, with the final image taken 4 hours after the first. There will be gaps in your exam time of anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. During those breaks, we encourage patients to leave the department and stretch their legs. The patient may not eat, drink, or chew gum until the exam is completed.
Once the scan is complete, the images will be evaluated by a Radiologist. If the scan is satisfactory and no additional images are needed, your child will be free to leave and resume normal activity.