A pediatric gastroenterologist can diagnose and treat children who have symptoms of gastroparesis.
The pediatric gastroenterologist will take a careful medical history and examine your child during your child’s first appointment. Many conditions cause symptoms similar to those of gastroparesis. The doctor may order other tests to determine what is causing your child’s symptoms.
The “gold standard” test for diagnosing gastroparesis is a nuclear medicine test called gastric emptying scintigraphy. Your child eats food mixed with a small and safe amount of a radioactive substance. Then a technician uses a scanner to track how the substance moves through the digestive system. This test takes about four hours. The results show how quickly food is leaving your child’s stomach.
Other tests can help the care team understand the cause of your child’s gastroparesis. These may include:
- Endoscopy. A small, flexible tube (catheter) is placed through the mouth into the stomach to see whether anything is blocking the opening from the stomach to the small intestine (pylorus). A blockage in this area can cause gastroparesis. This test is done in a special procedure room using anesthesia. Your child will be asleep for the test.
- An X-ray study. This test is another way to see if anything is blocking the pylorus.
- Antroduodenal manometry. A catheter is placed through the nose into your child's stomach and small intestine to measure pressure. This can help the care team understand if the cause of your child’s condition is related to a problem with nerve signals.