Gastric emptying test

What’s the test for?

This test evaluates how long it takes for food to leave your stomach.

You may be referred for this test when there is a suspicion of delayed emptying of food from your stomach, which may be responsible for your gastrointestinal symptoms including feeling full very quickly, abdominal discomfort, pain, nausea, vomiting of undigested food or bloating.

About the procedure

You will eat a small meal containing a safe chemical (13C) which is digested with the food and excreted by your lungs.  We will measure how much of the chemical is in your breath over time which enables us to estimate how well your stomach is emptying.

If you are paying for this test yourself and not through private medical insurance, the cost will be £850.

How to prepare

There is some preparation required before your arrival at the clinic.  This preparation involves stopping certain medication and fasting. Please see our patient information leaflet for full details.

What can be learned?

The test can help identify disorders such as gastroparesis where there is an abnormal function of your muscles or nerves that control your stomach’s contractions, causing delayed emptying into your small intestine.

Following your test, your data will be analysed, and results written up into a report. The report will be sent to both you and your referring consultant/doctor, who will explain the results to you in a follow-up consultation.

Information leaflet
Information leaflet

Find more information about this test using our PDF download.

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It was also great to have time to talk to the clinicians – very important when you have problems. Reception staff also very kind and helpful.

Manchester Patient