Gastric emptying in male neurologic trauma

Chia Hung Kao*, Sheng Ping ChangLai, Poon Ung Chieng, Tzu Chen Yen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

23 Scopus citations


Prolonged gastric emptying half-time (GET1/2) has been observed in several neurological disorders. Most patients with moderate to severe neurologic trauma (NT) initially do not tolerate enteral or nasogastric feedings. However, previous findings of altered gastric emptying (GE) in patients with NT have been questionable. Quantitative measurements of GE, to determine a possible mechanism for intolerance to enteral feeding, are lacking. In this study, we measured GET1/2 sec of solid and liquid meals by radionuclide imaging in men who were neurologic trauma patients. Methods: A prospective study was conducted to assess GET1/2 in 30 men who were patients with spinal cord injuries (SCIs) and 20 men who were patients with head injuries (HIs) using radionuclide-labeled solid and liquid meals, respectively. Meanwhile, 18 and 14 male control subjects underwent the same imaging techniques for solid and liquid meals, respectively, to evaluate the normal ranges of solid and liquid GET1/2 sec (84.5 ± 16.7 and 29.2 ± 3.7 min). Results: In the 30 SCI patients, GET1/2 of solid meals was significantly prolonged (138.3 ± 49.2 min, p < 0.05), and 53% (16/30) of patients had abnormal GET1/2. A more prolonged GET1/2 and a higher incidence of abnormal GET1/2 were observed in patients with high-level injury, when compared with patients with low-level injury (p < 0.05). In the 20 HI patients, GET1/2 of liquid meals was prolonged significantly (51.7 ± 24.8 min, p < 0.05), and 65% (13/20) of patients had abnormal GET1/2. Coma, as indicated by the Glasgow Coma Scale score, was not a statistically significant factor influencing GET1/2 (p >0.05). Conclusion: NT can cause significantly prolonged GE, especially in patients with high-level SCI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1798-1801
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - 10 1998


  • Gastric emptying
  • Head injury
  • Neurologic trauma
  • Spinal cord injury


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