Testing For Gastroparesis:
Testing for Gastroparesis can be a bit of a minefield to say the least. Many of our members have been through extensive testing for a whole range of conditions before they finally get a definitave answer. Here are some of the more definative tests used to diagnose Gastropareis and gut function. Follow the links bellow to find out more about each test. If you have any questions about tests and what to expect, our support group is the perfect place to ask! Please come and join us.
Gastric Emptying Study
There are several ways to test gastric emptying time. The majority involve eating eggs which have had a tracing agent added. They can then monitor how long it takes for the food to leave the stomach. It’s not a painful test but some people really struggle to eat the egg and keep it down long enough to get the results needed.
You will have to drink Barium (a chalky substance... a bit like plaster of paris!) They then take timed x-rays to see where the fluid is going and how long it takes to get there.
Usually, one of the first tests you will have. It won't diagnose Gastroparesis specifically but it could point your consultant in the right direction if you still have food in the stomach after fasting for the procedure. This doesn't happen too regularly so we see it more as a ruling out test than anything definitive.
You are given some small capsules to take which contain tiny little metal rings. They can then x-ray the whole abdomen to see where all the rings are... Pretty cool huh! This is mostly used when further intestinal involvement it suspected.
This is not a common test and it can only be done at a couple of hospitals that we know of. Being offered this test would require travelling to one of these centres and staying overnight or staying near to the hospital. It involves placing a sensor (attached to the end of a tube) down through the nose. It is then guided into position via x-ray. They then connect the wires (within the tube) to a small portable box. You are connected for 24hrs during which time you press a button on the box to indicate if you are eating, drinking, laying down etc. The following morning the wires are removed and you can go home to await the results.
In the first instance these can be used to rule out infections and disease processes but in the long term they can be useful for monitoring nutritional status. They can not diagnose gastroparesis from a blood test.
This is an electronic device that is shaped like a pill. You swallow it and it records what's happening within the gut as it passes through. It usually takes a few days to pass through and then you return the device to the clinician.
There are many different types of scanning and x-ray techniques used to determine acute problems arising as a reslt of gastroparesis and intestinal dysmotility. These range from abdominal ultrasound to CT and MRI.