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Gastric Emptying Study- Liquid

A Gastric Liquid Emptying Study looks at how fast liquids go through the stomach into the small bowels.  With this test we can also assess reflux, or liquid going back up from the stomach.


Your child will be required to fast (nothing to eat or drink) for 3 hours before the study.  This includes ALL solids and liquids. Your child’s doctor should determine if your child’s medication should be stopped for this study. If deciding to stop medications, they should be stopped 2 days before the test.

Any laxatives or stool softeners should be stopped 1 day before the test. If your child has a G-J tube, it cannot be used and must be pulled back to a G tube before coming for this test. Other test which involved contrast to drink, for example a Barium swallow study, should not be performed within 3 days of this study.

Further information for this study:

  • This study will take up to 3.5 hours.
  • A parent or guardian may stay with the child at all times.
  • Siblings are not allowed in the room during the test.
  • Eating and drinking are not allowed in the room.

What to expect

Your child will be asked to drink some milk or formula, within 10 minutes. Pictures will begin as soon as they begin drinking and continue for 60 minutesPictures will be taken using a special camera to look at the milk entering the stomach. A seatbelt will be placed across their body to ensure safety and to help your child remain still during imaging. Your child should not feel any discomfort during the scan and can choose to be distracted (for example, watch a movie).

Your child will need to return 2 more times for pictures. These pictures will only take 2 minutes. You will need to return at the specified times because all pictures are time sensitive. Your child will need to fast (no food or drink) until all the pictures are done for the study.

Post test

Once the test is complete, your child may resume eating and drinking and taking any medications that may have been stopped for this test.

The scan results are given by a doctor specialized in Nuclear Medicine and not by the technologist doing the test. A report is sent to your doctor’s office, usually within 2-3 business days. 

Please call the Nuclear Medicine Department at 416-813-6065 if you have any questions about the procedure or if you need to change the appointment.

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