Delay in Gastric Emptying in Patients with Chronic Renal Failure

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Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are common in patients with chronic renal failure (CRF). Delayed gastric emptying might be a possible pathophysiological mechanism. The aims of this study were to evaluate gastric emptying in patients with CRF and to correlate the findings with GI symptoms and evaluate the impact of Helicobacter pylori infection in CRF patients on gastric emptying.


Thirty-nine patients with CRF (17 F, 22 M) were compared with 131 healthy subjects (74 F, 57 M). A standardized breakfast was given with 20 spherical, radiopaque markers (ROMs). The emptying was followed by fluoroscopy after 4, 5 and 6 h. Gastric emptying was assessed by calculating the individual mean percentual gastric retention of markers, 4 to 6 h after the meal. The perceived severity of GI symptoms was assessed with a validated questionnaire. Because of gender differences in gastric emptying, men and women were compared separately and a percentile of 95 was chosen as the upper reference value. H. pylori infection was assessed using a serological method.


Delayed gastric emptying was found in 14 out of 39 (36%) of the CRF patients. There was no relationship between delayed gastric emptying and age, GI symptoms, H. pylori infection or underlying renal disease. However, a higher proportion of patients in peritoneal dialysis demonstrated delayed gastric emptying compared with predialytic patients (6 of 9 versus 2 of 13, P = 0.026). Men with CRF had a higher gastric retention compared with healthy men (16.6 (0–63.3)% versus 0 (0–2.1)%, P < 0.0001), and 10 men with CRF had delayed gastric emptying (P < 0.0001). There was no significant difference in mean gastric retention between women with CRF and healthy women (13.3 (0–55.4)% versus 10.8 (0–30.0)%, P = 0.93), but 4 women with CRF had delayed gastric emptying (P = 0.02). Eighteen of the CRF patients had GI symptoms (6 F, 12 M) and 21 were asymptomatic (11 F, 10 M). There was no difference in mean gastric retention in patients with CRF with and without GI symptoms (M: 13.3 (0–55.0)% versus 47.5 (5.0–65.0)%, P = 0.51, F: 16.6 (0–63.3)% versus 13.3 (0–59.2)%, P = 0.96). Gastric emptying in CRF patients with and without H. pylori infection showed no difference.


Delayed gastric emptying is common in patients with chronic renal failure, particularly in men. The delay was not associated with the presence of GI symptoms, underlying renal disease or H. pylori infection. However, the dialytic status might have an impact on gastric emptying in patients with CRF.

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