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Gastric Emptying Study – WR Pediatric Imaging Procedure

What is a gastroesophageal reflux study (gastric emptying study)?

A gastroesophageal reflux study (gastric emptying study) is a diagnostic imaging procedure that measures the time it takes the stomach to empty and detects gastroesophageal reflux.

Why would my doctor request a Gastric Emptying Study?

This study can help:

  • Detect gastroesophageal reflux
  • Measure gastric emptying time
  • Detect aspiration
  • Evaluate a reason for nausea and vomiting
  • Evaluate why a child is not gaining weight
  • Assess why a child is having abdominal pain

How to prepare for this study?

You/your child cannot eat or drink anything 4 hours prior to the examination. It is important not to have had a barium study within 48 hours prior. If you/your child are fed through a gastric tube, please bring the formula you use with you. If your child is bottle fed, please bring your infant’s formula with you. Your child may bring a security blanket/toy with him/her for the procedure. We have various videos or DVDs to choose from for your child to watch during the procedure or you can bring one from home.

How is a gastric emptying study performed?

You will be greeted by one of our technologists who will explain to you and your child what will happen during the examination. You/your child’s referring physician will determine if the study should be liquid or solid. If you/your child have allergies to either eggs or milk, please call you/your child’s doctor. The technologist will add a small amount of a radiopharmaceutical called Technetium-99m Sulfur Colloid to either scrambled eggs or oatmeal (if a solid study) or to formula/milk (if liquid study). The radiopharmaceutical is tasteless. It is important that the test food or liquid be consumed within 10 minutes. When eating is complete, imaging will begin for one hour. It is important that you/your child remain as still as possible during the images for the best quality images.

What can be expected during the procedure?

Although the camera may appear large and intimidating, it does not touch you/your child.

What happens after the study?

Once the study is complete, it will be evaluated for quality. If there was too much motion, the study may need to be repeated. If there was no motion, you/your child will be free to leave and resume normal activity.

Badges of Honor

Wake Radiology is proud to have received the highest accreditations possible from the American College of Radiology (ACR).

Learn more about our accreditations!


Wake Radiology technologists have earned the highest certifications possible.

highest-certfication-possibleAll Wake Radiology technologists:

✔ are certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT)

✔ have graduated from an accredited radiology program

✔ have the technical expertise needed to obtain high quality images & deliver exceptional patient care

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