Gastric Emptying Scan

A gastric emptying scan is a test that will help the doctor find out how well your child's stomach and esophagus are working.

Pictures are taken after your child drinks a special liquid. If your child has a G-tube, the technologist can use the G-tube to feed your child.

Before coming to the hospital, read this explanation and explain to your child what will happen during the test. For young children, use simple words and explain only shortly before the test.

For this test, your child must have an empty stomach. Follow the eating and drinking instructions given by the doctor. If your child is an infant, it is helpful to bring along a bottle of formula or juice for after the test. It is also recommended that you bring a pacifier, blanket or special toy to help calm your baby.

For older children, it is helpful to bring a book or toy to play with while waiting, and a movie or music for during the test. It is helpful to have another caregiver to watch your child's siblings so you can be with your child.

Your child will drink a bottle or cup of fluid (1 or 2 ounces of juice, milk or formula) that contains a special medicine. The medicine has no taste and no odor. For some children, this is followed by another bottle or glass (2-8 ounces) of juice, milk or formula.

The child must drink these fluids in about 15 minutes. Then your child will lie on a soft table on his / her back while pictures are taken with a special camera underneath the table. These pictures take about one hour. If your child is unable to lie still, our staff will assist your child in holding still.

After these pictures, the doctor will check to see how much of the liquid has emptied from the child's stomach. If 61 percent or more has emptied, the test is finished. If less than 61 percent is emptied, you will have to wait one hour and another one-minute picture will be taken. During this time, your child may not eat or drink. You may wait in the waiting room or take a walk.

It is possible that during the procedure your child may experience some discomfort. Please tell the doctor, nurse or technologist if pain occurs.

The child's digestive system will eliminate the liquid medicine from the body. As always, you and your child should wash your hands when the child has a bowel movement or vomits.

After the test, your child may return to regular daily activities and meals. Results of the test will be sent to your child's doctor, who will contact you about the results.

Last Updated 07/2013