A Stable Isotope Breath Test With a Standard Meal for Abnormal Gastric Emptying of Solids in the Clinic and in Research

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Background & Aims:The aim of this study was to validate a [13C]–Spirulina platensis gastric emptying (GE) breath test (GEBT) with a standardized meal.Methods:Thirty-eight healthy volunteers and 129 patients with clinically suspected delayed GE underwent measurements at 45, 90, 120, 150, 180, and 240 minutes after a 238 kcal meal labeled test with 100 mg [13C]–S platensis and 0.5 mCi 99mTc. We established normal ranges for scintigraphy with this test meal, intraindividual and interindividual coefficients of variation (COVs), and the ability of the [13C] GEBT breath percent dose excreted *1000 values to predict scintigraphic half-life and to categorize GE as delayed, normal, or accelerated.Results:In health, the 10th and 90th percentiles of half-life for scintigraphic GE with this meal were 52 and 86 minutes; intraindividual COVs for scintigraphy and the GEBT were, respectively, 31% and 27% at 45 minutes, 17% and 21% at 90 minutes, 13% and 16% at 120 minutes, 10% and 13% at 150 minutes, and 8% and 12% at 180 minutes. Interindividual COVs at each time for the [13C] GEBT and scintigraphy were typically ∼1%–4% lower than intraindividual COVs. Individual breath samples at 45, 150, and 180 minutes predicted GE category; at 80% specificity, 45- and 180-minute samples combined were 93% sensitive to identify accelerated GE, and 150- and 180-minute combined were 89% sensitive for delayed GE.Conclusions:[13C]–S platensis GEBT is as reproducible as scintigraphy; imprecision with both tests reflects physiologic variation. With 4 breath samples, this method with an off-the-shelf meal is valid to assess GE in clinic and in research.

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