Comparison of continuous breath test and gastric scintigraphy for the measurement of gastric emptying rate in healthy and dyspeptic individuals

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ObjectiveTo determine normative gastric emptying rates for the continuous breath test and to compare its findings with gastric scintigraphy in healthy volunteers and dyspeptic patients.MethodsA standard 250 kcal meal double-labeled with 1 mCi 99mTc colloid and 100 μg nonradioactive 13C-octanoic acid was administered to 20 healthy individuals and 22 dyspeptic patients attending a tertiary medical center in 2009–2010. Gastric emptying rate was measured simultaneously with sequential gastric scintigraphy and the continuous breath test. The results of the healthy controls were used as a normative reference. The findings of the two tests were analyzed by linear regression and κ statistics. In addition, the gastric half-emptying times (T½) were compared by a κ test for evaluating the agreement of normal/abnormal results in both methods.ResultsBackground features were as follows: healthy individuals – 15 men/5 women, mean age 44.9±14 years and mean BMI 26.8±3.5; dyspeptic patients – 5 men/17 women, mean age 58.0±13 years and mean BMI 25.3±5.5. The upper limit of normal for gastric half-emptying time (T½) was 140 min by the breath test. The linear correlation of T½ between the methods was 0.64. The agreement of normal/abnormal T½ between the methods was 0.65.ConclusionThe continuous breath test may be a suitable method for the evaluation of gastric emptying. A larger study is required to determine its feasibility as the standard of care in dyspeptic patients.

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