A new method is described which allows simultaneous measurement of gastric emptying and duodenogastric reflux and avoids transpyloric intubation. After intragastric instillation of a liquid lipid meal in six healthy volunteers the fractional gastric emptying rate was 2.9 +/- 0.3 in the upright and 2.5 +/- 0.6 SEM X 10(-2)/min in the supine position, respectively (p greater than 0.5). The duodenogastric reflux rate (expressed as fraction of the intraduodenal amount of duodenal marker) was 0.30 (range 0.03-0.81) and 0.22 (0.01-0.55) X 10(-2)/min, respectively (p greater than 0.2). Atropine (40 micrograms/kg) decreased the supine gastric emptying rate to 1.1 +/- 0.2 (p less than 0.05) and increased the supine duodenogastric reflux rate to 2.74 (0.04-9.80) X 10(-2)/min (p less than 0.05). Fasting duodenogastric reflux rate was similar in the supine and upright position, 0.49 (0.04-0.89) and 0.42 (0.06-0.97) X 10(-2)/min, respectively (p greater than 0.5). Fractional gastric emptying rate was similar in 10 volunteers and 17 patients with type I gastric ulcer (2.1 +/- 0.4 vs 1.7 +/- 0.2 SEM X 10(-2)/min, p greater than 0.2). Their duodenogastric reflux rates were also similar, 0.65 (0.01-5.24) vs 1.10 (0.01-10.83) X 10(-2)/min (p greater than 0.5). We conclude therefore that (1) gastric emptying and both fasting and postprandial duodenogastric reflux are independent of the posture; (2) fasting and postprandial reflux are of similar magnitude; (3) atropine shows gastric emptying and increases duodenogastric reflux; and (4) patients with type I gastric ulcer have neither slowed gastric emptying nor increased duodenogastric reflux.
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