The effects of proximal gastric vagotomy (PGV) and vagotomy with pyloroplasty (V and P) on gastric motility were studied using a solid meal labelled with a radiopharmaceutical agent. In having on-line computer facilities it was possible not only to record the rate of emptying but also to analyse the relative roles of the fundus and the antrum within the overall framework of gastric emptying. In normal subjects the fundus filled and then emptied in an almost linear pattern. The antrum, however, did not completely fill until well after the meal was eaten and thereafter appeared to maintain a constant volume during the study. The redistribution of contents between fundus and antrum was reflected in the total stomach emptying curve as a delay, or lag phase before gastric emptying commenced. After both types of vagotomy fundic filling was delayed, representing a slower eating time, which was presumably due to early satiety. Antral filling and volume was disturbed only after V and P, which was also reflected by a loss of the lag phase seen on the total stomach curve. PGV retained antral function but there was significant delay in the redistribution of contents between fundus and antrum, though this did not have clinical significance. The rate of emptying was unaffected by either operation. It was concluded PGV did maintain antral function and a more normal pattern of emptying compared with V and P. After V and P the changes in antral function were considerable and these changes are probably associated with some of the complications resulting from this operation.
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