Gastric emptying was studied in 12 diabetic patients, six with and six without objective evidence of autonomic neuropathy and in 20 non-diabetic controls, using a double isotope scinti-scanning technique which differentiated between solid and liquid emptying. Three patients with autonomic neuropathy exhibited gastric stasis, although this was detected by conventional radiology in only one. Neither the patients with stasis nor those without exhibited abnormally rapid early gastric emptying. In patients without stasis, the normal differentiation between solid and liquid emptying was impaired, suggesting an abnormality of antral peristalsis not attributable to vagal denervation. Both intravenous and oral metoclopramide produced symptomatic improvement in two patients with gastric stasis and restored their gastric emptying to normal.
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