BACKGROUND: (99m) Technetium scintigraphy ((99m) TS) is the 'gold standard' for measuring gastric emptying (GE), but it is associated with a radiation exposure. For this reason, the (13) C-octanoic acid breath test ((13) C-OBT) was developed for measuring GE of solids. The objective of this study was to determine normal values for gastric half-emptying time (t1/2 GE) of solids in healthy children.

METHODS: Gastric emptying of a standardized solid test meal consisting of a pancake evaluated with (99m) TS and (13) C-OBT was compared in 22 children aged between 1 and 15 years with upper gastrointestinal symptoms. Subsequently, the (13) C-OBT was used to determine normal values for GE of the same solid test meal in 120 healthy children aged between 1 and 17 years.

KEY RESULTS: The results showed a significant correlation (r = 0.748, p = 0.0001) between t1/2 GE measured with both techniques in the group of children with upper gastrointestinal symptoms. In the group of healthy children, mean t1/2 GE was 157.7 ± 54.0 min (range 71-415 min), but t1/2 GE decreased with age between 1 and 10 years and remained stable afterward. There was no influence of gender, weight, height, body mass index, and body surface area on t1/2 GE.

CONCLUSIONS & INFERENCES: Normal values for GE of solids measured with the (13) C-OBT using a standardized methodology were determined in healthy children. We propose to use this method and corresponding reference ranges to study GE of solids in children with gastrointestinal problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1480-1487
Number of pages8
JournalNeurogastroenterology & Motility
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

    Research areas

  • 13C-octanoic acid breath test, gastric emptying, non-dispersive infrared spectrometry

ID: 25769564