Gastric Emptying Scan

I had my gastric emptying scan yesterday.

It was a 2 hour procedure, with images taken every 30 minutes. I walked back and forth to the waiting room between the pictures, and laid down for the scan.

I haven’t gotten the official results yet, but from the table on the copy of the images I got, it looks like at 120 minutes my stomach was about 48% empty.

Now, from reading up online it seems this may or may not be normal, and a 2 hour scan is really not as adequate for diagnosing gastroparesis as a 4 hour scan.

At 2.5 hours, >40% retention is considered slow gastric emptying, according to this research.

Would I have had >8% emptying in another 30 minutes? I know I was still burping and tasting eggs and orange juice for the next few hours after the test. So something had to still be in my stomach 4 hours later – was it >10% of what I had eaten?

I don’t know, we didn’t do the test that long.


I would have happily stayed at the hospital for 4 hours if that had been an option made available to me. Why do the shorter test if it isn’t as reliable?

I’m continually frustrated by the medical systems lack of standardization and evidence-grounded practices.

And I’m continually thankful I have the resources and abilities to find more information and call out doctors and medical practices. Or else I wouldn’t have an endometriosis diagnosis, nor a gallbladder right now.

But it is bullshit that I should have to do all of this independent research and the medical system isn’t build on doing what is best for their patients in the first place. Because it should be. We should aim to do the proper test, with proper procedures, the first time. And we should make sure patients are informed as possible about the procedures they are going in for so patients can call out inappropriate practices that arise.

I guess I should have researched the results of a gastric emptying scan more thoroughly before my test, so I could have questioned the 2 vs 4 hour procedure. Not that it would have been any more likely for me to have the longer scan done, but at least I could feel I addressed it.


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