Gastric Emptying Study

A gastric emptying study uses a radioactive substance (or tracer) to examine your gastrointestinal tract.

A gastric emptying study is performed to determine the amount of time required for your stomach to empty after a meal. The study can be helpful in detecting causes of unexplained nausea, vomiting and bloating or weight loss.

Before Your Procedure

  • Tell your physician if you are pregnant or nursing.
  • You should not eat or drink anything for 6 hours prior to your study.
  • You may take your medications as usual, unless instructed differently by your physician.

During Your Procedure

  • You will first be given a meal of 2 scrambled eggs and toast provided by the hospital. A small amount of radioactive material has been added to the food. Your body usually eliminates the tracer within 24 hours. The radiation you are exposed to with the ingested radioactive substance is about the same as a regular X-ray.
  • After you have eaten, images will be taken with a gamma camera. A gamma camera is a special camera that senses the radioactive substance and displays this information on a screen which is stored in a computer. The images are taken at intervals for about 3-4 hours.
  • Total length of exam is about 3 ½ -4 ½ hours.

After Your Procedure

  • You can resume your normal activities.
  • Your doctor will be contacted with the results of your test and will discuss the results with you.

Providing safe, quality patient care is our highest priority. To help ensure quality and safety, we ask that you do not bring young children with you to your appointments, as children are not allowed to accompany you during Imaging procedures. Staff is unable to monitor your child in your absence.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your provider.

Back to Imaging Patient Instructions

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO