A gastric emptying scan is a test used to find problems in the stomach. Special pictures are taken after a meal of eggs or formula is eaten. The medicine is put into the eggs or formula. The medicine is called a radiopharmaceutical (a tiny amount of a radioactive liquid). The pictures show the medicine in the stomach and esophagus.
Before the Procedure
Before coming to the hospital, read this explanation and explain to your child what will happen during the test. For young children, use simple words and explain only shortly before the test.
If your child is less than 6 months of age, they cannot eat or drink anything by mouth for four hours before the test.
If your child is older than 6 months of age, they cannot eat or drink anything by mouth for six hours before the test.
If your child is an infant, it is helpful to bring along a bottle of formula or juice with you for after the test. It is also recommended that you bring a pacifier, blanket or special toy to help calm your baby.
For older children, it is helpful to bring a book, toy or DVD to play with while waiting. It is helpful to have another caregiver for your child's siblings. For young children or babies, it is a good idea to bring a stroller.
During the Scan
A technologist will place the medicine into eggs or formula and have the child eat it. After the child has eaten, they will lie still on a soft table; images will be taken for two hours, and an additional picture will be taken four hours after your child finishes their meal.
They may need a safety belt to help them lie still. During this time they may watch a DVD. The camera will not hurt or touch your child. You will be able to stay with them during the entire test.
It is possible that during the procedure your child may experience some discomfort. Please tell the doctor, nurse or technologist if pain occurs.
After the Scan
The child eliminates the medicine from their body by urinating. The child should drink plenty of fluids and urinate often to help clear it from their body. It should be completely out of the child’s body within 24 hours.
As always, you and your child should wash your hands after they urinates or when handling urine-soaked diapers or sheets.
After the test, they may return to regular daily activities and meals.
Results of the test will be available to your child's doctor within 24 hours.
Technology & Scanners
The pictures will be taken by a Siemens ECam. The open gantry design and feet-in imaging helps your child to feel more comfortable and allows them to watch a movie. The camera has two detectors, one which will be above your child and one which will be under them.