Gastric Emptying Exam

What is a  liquid/solid: gastric emptying exam?

Liquid Solid Scan Image Images from this test show the rate the stomach digests solid food. A Liquid/Solid: Gastric Emptying exam measures the rate that your child digests solid food in the stomach.

Your child will eat food that has been mixed with a radiopharmaceutical. This "tracer" is medicine combined with a small amount of radioactive material. It travels to the area of your child we need to see and is detected and imaged by a gamma camera.

Radiopharmaceuticals are carefully tested. The risk of side effects is extremely small. Most radiopharmaceuticals used in nuclear medicine studies give less radiation exposure than a day at the beach.

What should you do prior to the exam?

  • Your child cannot have anything to eat or drink for four hours prior to the exam.
  • Your child should not receive barium (radiographic contrast agent) 48 hours prior to the exam.
  • Eggs are typically used for this exam. If your child has an allergy to eggs, please contact the Nuclear Medicine Department ahead of time at 215-590-2592.
  • Dress your child comfortably, in clothes that are easily removed. Your child may be given a gown to change into for the exam.
  • We have a large variety of video entertainment to choose from, however, your child can also bring along a favorite movie to watch during the exam.
  • You may want to bring a snack or drink for your child to have after the exam.

Note: Parents will be allowed to accompany their child into the exam room. It may be helpful to make other arrangements for siblings.

What should you expect during the exam?

  • The technologist will ask why the Liquid/Solid exam is being done and will explain the study to you and your child.
  • We will cook your child two scrambled eggs mixed with a small amount of radioactive material. There are no side effects and the medicine will not change the taste of the eggs. We serve the eggs with two slices of bread and 8 ounces of juice or water. Your child will need to eat the meal in 10 minutes.
  • After eating, your child will lie on our table and the scan will begin. We will take one picture every 10 minutes for two hours. Each picture takes about one minute. The camera will be above the table and will come close to, but will not touch your child.
  • Your child will need to lie still for each picture but can sit up or stand in between.
  • We do not sedate for this procedure.

If you’d like, our child life specialists will help you prepare and support your child during the procedure. We can also arrange to have a child life specialist at your child's appointment to explain the procedure in developmentally appropriate ways and to help your child better cope with the stress of the hospital experience.

What should you do after the exam?

There are no special instructions for your child to follow after the exam.

Test results

The images from your child's exam are interpreted on the same day and a report is sent to your physician's office.

Your physician may call 215-590-2584 with questions about the exam.