Gastric motility has not been extensively studied in patients with cirrhosis and gastric antral vascular ectasia (GAVE) may be associated with antropyloric dysfunction. This study therefore looked at antral motility using ultrasound in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis with or without GAVE. Twenty six patients were included: 10 patients with cirrhosis without GAVE, eight patients with cirrhosis and GAVE, and eight controls without liver disease. Measurement of antral area and antral contractions (amplitude and frequency) was performed for three hours after ingestion of a standardised solid-liquid meal. Antral area half time (mean (SD)) was not significantly increased in patients with cirrhosis without GAVE (84 (42) min), but increased by 120% (123 (43) min; p < 0.01) in patients with GAVE compared with controls (56 (26) min). GAVE patients exhibited the same frequency and amplitude of antral contractions at each time point as controls and had the same tendency to increase these values over time although this was attenuated in the late postprandial phase. In contrast, cirrhotic patients without GAVE exhibited a significantly higher frequency and amplitude of antral contractions during the initial postprandial phase but showed no change in either frequency or amplitude over time. In conclusion, in cirrhosis there is an abnormal antral motor response to a meal, which has a different pattern over time in patients with or without GAVE.
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