Gastric emptying scan

so, i go on tuesday for a gastric emptying scan.....has anyone else done this? is it worth it? does it really matter?

i guess im thinking that if its documented i will have more of a voice when talking about weird blood sugars, etc.


(this forum really needs

Yes, go for it. I did it back in 2003. It will confirm that you have the gastroparesis. Although you will have the diagnosis, it won’t guarantee that doctors will get it! I was still treated like I must not be doing things right or my BS would not be so whacky. Even when I was in the hospital for a week, the doctor managing my BS told me the day I was discharged that my BS baffled him! Although he did not nothing to help me, he was the first doctor to actually believe me that I did nothing to cause it myself.

The test itself is very easy. You aren’t supposed to eat the night before. I was given radioactive eggs to eat - that sounds worse than what it is! There were other food items on the plate but they asked that I at least eat the eggs. You then lay on a table with a camera above that follows the eggs thru your digestive tract. Some test times vary, but an average time for the test is 90 minutes.

The report will contain what percent the food was digested during the test time. You will then be able to find out if you have mild gastroparesis or if it is more severe.

Make sure that you ask for an actual copy of the report. That is one of those reports that you should have if you decide to switch doctors.

Good luck with your test!


I have had this test… For me it was worth it and it mattered. I don’t know if you are on insulin but I am and it showed I needed to change the time I take my insulin. A lot of people take their insulin before meals but because my stomach empties so slowly my doctor changed it to sfter meals and in time figured out how long I had to wait after meals to take it… it has made a big difference on my blood sugar. I was having lows even though I had eaten and highs when it had been hours since I had eaten. There are treatments for gastroparesis… the medications havent worked well for me so this year I will be getting a gastric pacer (like a pacemaker for the stomach) but that is mostly because I have neuropathy that is affecting my stomach. I hope this helps… Take Care and Good Luck. ~Barbara

good…thanks. im assuming i have kind of mild (i hope)…some foods screw me up and some foods appear to be fine. my biggest ‘symptom’ is a weird muscle spasm near my solar plexus (i can actually SEE it), and the feeling full and the wonky BS. im never nauseus or vomiting…thank goodness.

so, i’ll get it done and know to what extent its effecting me.

I will keep my fingers crossed for you that yours is on the mild side. Mine wasn’t but I never had vomiting either. I was always nauseous and even on the gastroparesis diet, that never went away until I went gluten-free.

excellent idea to have a gastric emptying exam. It is painless and the results can help confirm your symptoms and a diagnosis. Even if you are having a mild day with regard to gastroparesis symptoms the exam will show what % delay you have in emptying. I ate the same radioaCTIVE EGGS WITH TOAST ON THE SIDE. iT WAS DO-able.
high fiber foods and fatty foods are difficult to digest when you have gastroparesis. My symptoms definately are worse after indulging in these. Good luck with the test tomorrow.

yea…i eat a very high fiber diet:( im a firm believer in whole grains and veggies. im a bit panicky thinking about how to ditch the leafy greens and brown rice…

ive been gluten free for years…so at least i don’t have that to look forward to.

i have a brain mri scheduled for tomorrow looking for a pituitary tumor, and that doesn’t bring ANY anxiety compared to the thought of not eating ‘healthy’ anymore…i am such a ‘good’ eater.

I have had several gastric emptying studies/scans too, (every year since 2001). Like others here have mentioned, it is a good thing to have done for confirmation that you have gastroparesis. You should also be aware, however, that for many people with gastroparesis (GP), there are times when the gastric emptying study will show normal digestion (or within normal limits), eventhough you still have GP. This just has to do with the unpredictable nature of GP. Of all the gastric emptying studies I’ve taken, one so far has shown to be normal while all the rest have been significantly delayed. My next one is due in early December so I’ll have to see how the next one turns out.

One other thing you should know before doing the study is to be careful of how much insulin you take (if you are on insulin) prior to the study. Since they ask you to fast for a long period of time, be sure to either decrease or stop taking your short-acting insulin to prevent hypoglycemia from happening during the study. Check with your GI doctor/nurse for their specific recommendations/instructions. Last year when I did my study, I had a severe low since I did not decrease my humalog enough. I wouldn’t want the same thing to happen to you as well.

I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis last summer sfetr the emptying study. Well worth the time and effort. I now take Metocloprimide and (supposed to take…) Amitiza and have been advised to control my diet… being mindful that too much fiber at one time will accentuate my issues. I too was a huge fiber eater before this diagnosis. I still eat fairly well, but will advise you that cereals such as All-bran fiber buds can tear you up and bring you down. At least that’s what they did to me. Too much of a good thing, for sure.

I am greatful for the correct diagnosis. I was bloated and then vomitting 2-3 hours after meals and my blood sugars and mood were not controlled very well. Those high blood sugars are put me to sleep, which is crazy when you have small kids around. I had to do something.

Best wishes to you. Good luck. PS. I have neuropathy in my legs and now stomach with the gastoparesis and have only been a diagnosed T1 diabetic for 4 years. My A1C has never been over 6.8. Go figure.

I had the test and the results were false negative. I’m diabetic for over 50 years and definitely have all the symptoms of gastroparesis.I guess the test isn’t foolproof. In any case, my doctors and I are treating the gastroparesis anyway.

Good luck!

I ate the funky eggs! welcome to my world. It showed I digest 20% of what the real world does. It answered alot of questions for my doctor and my endo changed all my insulin around so I didn’t bottom out in the middle of the night, etc. It was worth it to find out what I have and where I was. It made me feel more confident in making decisions and gave me a path to follow/things to try. Go for it and good luck!

So, on this gastric emptying scan, I have a 12 hour fast, and I am curious…

Can I have water?

What if I have to eat a glucose tablet or two?

Do I just keep my bg a little high, just in case?

Normally your doctor will advise you on what to do. In the past, for my own GES, I was told to reduce my insulin in half before bed and not to take any insulin in the morning before the test. You should call them to see what they think is best for you. If you happen to have a low though the morning before, depending how low it is, you may need to treat it with glucose and reschedule your test.

I am not sure about the water. The idea is to have your stomach as empty as much as possible so that when you eat the food they give you, they have a better idea about it moving thru your stomach. If you need a glucose tablet or two, you definitely have to take them. I can’t imagine that they would fill your stomach up so you should still be OK for the test but I would let them know that you did that. Glucose tablets kind of dissolve and need to do that in order to work so I would not think there would be too much leftover in your stomach, but that is possible depending on how bad the gastroparesis is.

If you have your basals set correctly, you should not have to cut your insulin in half. I do 24 hour basal testing with both being on the pump & when I was on Levemir. I don’t eat for 24 hours and don’t have a problem unless my levels are set too high. I have had a couple surgeries now without cutting back on insulin. If you are worried about being low, you could cut back a little on your basal. Also, you could do a dry-run before the test to see how your BS goes without eating.

i had the first one standing and the second one lying down. the lying down wasn’t a diagnostic reason, i’d lost so much weight by then i was too weak to stand for more than a minute. i had the second one to see if the reglan was working, which it was. turns out i was also allergic to it, but it did make my stomach move for a little while.