Gastric emptying of liquid (orange juice containing technetium-99m (99mTc) labelled antimony sulphide colloid) and solid (570 kcal pancake containing 0.5 mm resin microspheres labelled with Indium-111 (111-In)) was measured in seven patients with jejunum and no colon (jejunal lengths 30-160 cm), six patients with jejunum in continuity with the colon (jejunal length 25-75 cm), and in 12 normal subjects. In patients with no colon early emptying of liquid was rapid (median 25% emptying: 7 v 25 min, no colon v normal, p < 0.05); early gastric emptying of solid was rapid in two (each with less than 100 cm jejunum) and normal in the other five. Gastric emptying of liquid and solid for patients with jejunum in continuity with the colon was normal for the first three hours. There was increased liquid and solid retained in the stomach at six hours in both groups of patients (p < 0.01). Small bowel transit time was faster than in normal subjects for liquid in both groups of patients (p < 0.05) and for solid in those with no colon (p < 0.05). Rapid gastric emptying of liquid may contribute to the large stomal output in patients with a high jejunostomy. Preservation of the colon after a major small intestinal resection exerts a braking effect on the rate of early gastric emptying of liquid.
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