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A gastric emptying study is a nuclear medicine test that measures the time it takes the stomach to empty. It is often referred to as a gastroesophageal reflux study.
How Boston Children's Hospital approaches gastric emptying studies
The Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging program at Children's is committed to providing a safe, comfortable, and child-friendly atmosphere with:
What is a gastric emptying study?
A gastric emptying study is a diagnostic imaging exam that measures the time it takes for food to empty from the stomach and enter the small intestine. This test can be done as a liquid, solid or gastric motility study.
Technetium-99m Sulfur Colloid is a tasteless radiopharmaceutical that is added to food for older children or formula/milk for babies.
A special camera, called a gamma camera, is used to take pictures of the stomach after your child consumes the food or formula.
When might a gastric emptying study be needed?
A gastric emptying study can help:
How should I prepare my child for a gastric emptying study?
Your visit to the Division of Nuclear Imaging will last approximately one hour and 45 minutes.
What should I expect when I bring my child to the hospital for a gastric emptying study?
When you arrive, please go to the Nuclear Medicine check-in desk on the second floor of the main hospital. A clinical intake coordinator will check in your child and verify his registration information.
What happens during a gastric emptying study?
If you are having a solid or liquid gastric emptying study, imaging will be one hour.
If you are having a gastric motility study, imaging will be approximately 5 hours.
Gastric Emptying Study Movie
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Will my child feel anything during a gastric emptying study?
Although the camera used to take pictures may appear large and intimidating, it does not touch your child.
Is a gastric emptying study safe?
We are committed to ensuring that your child receives the smallest radiation dose needed to obtain the desired result.
What happens after the gastric emptying study?
Once the gastric emptying study is complete, the images will be evaluated for quality. If the scan is adequate, your child will be free to leave and resume normal activity.
One of the Children's nuclear medicine physicians will review your child's images and create a report of the findings and diagnosis.
How do I learn the results of the gastric emptying study?
The nuclear medicine physician will provide a report to the doctor who ordered your child's gastric emptying study. Your child's doctor will then discuss the results with you.
Department of Radiology
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