Symptoms suggesting gastroparesis in patients without gastric outlet obstruction are very common but their relation to an objective delay of gastric emptying has been poorly investigated. A dual isotopic technique was used to evaluate patients with non-obstructive dyspepsia (idiopathic and secondary) (part 1) and to assess the effects of a new gastrokinetic agent: cisapride, on gastric emptying in such patients (part 2). Sixty patients with postprandial dyspeptic symptoms (vomiting, nausea, gastric bloating or full feeling) and without lesions at upper endoscopy were studied. They were distributed into three groups: idiopathic dyspepsia (n = 31), postvagotomy dyspepsia (n = 16) and dyspepsia secondary to medical disorders (n = 13). All patients ingested the same ordinary meal; 99mTc sulphur colloid tagged egg white was the solid phase marker and 111In chloride was the liquid phase marker. In part 1, evaluation of gastric emptying in the first 50 patients shows a delay of gastric emptying rate of solids and liquids as compared with controls. Striking differences separate the three groups of patients, however, percentages of delayed gastric emptying rate of solids and or liquids averaged 90% in postvagotomy or secondary dyspepsia groups whereas it was 44% in idiopathic dyspepsia group. Moreover, liquid emptying rate was often the only one impaired in idiopathic dyspepsia, and in 12 of the 27 patients of this group the faster emptying rate of liquids as compared with that of solids (always found in normal subjects), could not be evidenced. In part 2, 10 patients entered a double blind cross over study of cisapride (8 mg intravenously). A significant increase of solid (p<0.01) and liquid (p<0.05) emptying rates was found in patients with initial gastric emptying delay. This study emphasises the importance of an objective evaluation of gastric emptying in the presence of symptoms of gastric stasis and suggests that specific local acting therapy may be useful in patients with identified abnormal gastric emptying.
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