A novel dynamic scintigraphic technique for assessing duodenal contractions during gastric emptying in humans: a feasibility study

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Duodenal contractions are thought to play a role in the control of gastric emptying. Although noninvasive techniques, such as ultrasonography and MRI, have been proposed for studying duodenal contractile activity in humans, there are no reports on the use of scintigraphy for this purpose. This work aimed to describe a novel scintigraphic technique for assessing duodenal contractility during gastric emptying in humans, and to present preliminary data on the frequency and amplitude of contractions detected in three different duodenal segments. Fasted young healthy volunteers (N=12) were given either a liquid or a solid test meal of similar calorie content (400 kcal) labeled with 99mTc-phytate. Static images were collected to determine gastric emptying. Dynamic images of the anterior aspect of the abdomen (1 frame/s) were also acquired periodically in a standard position for 256 s at 15–30 min intervals. ‘Activity versus time’ curves were generated for regions of interest corresponding to the proximal, middle, and distal duodenal segments. Curves were digitally filtered and processed to estimate both dominant frequency (fast Fourier transform) and amplitude (mean ejection fraction) of postprandial duodenal contractions. There were no significant differences regarding dominant frequency among proximal, middle, and distal duodenal regions of interest. In addition, there were no significant differences between the liquid and the solid meal in terms of either frequency or amplitude of duodenal contractions. Characterization of duodenal contractions in humans using scintigraphy is feasible and yields consistent data for both the frequency and the amplitude of postprandial contractions, which seems to be rather independent of meal consistency.

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