Simultaneous Blood Glucose Monitoring during Gastric-Emptying Scintigraphy May Identify Unsuspected Abnormalities

Nathan E. McWhorter, Leen Abazid, Brandon C. Gorzell, Jane L. Lynch, Umber A. Salman, Darlene F. Metter, William T. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose A retrospective study of 197 patients was performed to evaluate utility of simultaneous fingerstick glucose monitoring during standardized solid meal gastric-emptying scintigraphy (GES). We hypothesized the unlabeled carbohydrate components of the standardized meal often empty at different rates than the labeled egg protein component and that simultaneous glucose monitoring may identify rapid carbohydrate gastric emptying. Methods Patients were classified as normal, rapid, or delayed gastric emptying from the standardized solid egg meal GES criteria. Further subcategorization was made based on postprandial glycemic excursions above baseline at 30/60 minutes and was delineated as elevated (>75 mg/>85 mg/dL), normal, or diminished (<30 mg/dL) glucose excursion. Results Of the 197 patients, solid gastric-emptying rates for 105 were normal, delayed in 54, and rapid in 25 patients, and 13 patients had initially delayed emptying 1 or 2 hours with normal emptying by 4 hours. Of the 105 patients with normal gastric emptying, 58 had elevated, 47 normal, and none had diminished glucose excursions. Of the 54 patients with delayed gastric emptying, 26 had elevated, 16 had normal, and 12 had diminished glucose excursions. Nine patients with normal or delayed gastric emptying but elevated glycemic excursions returned for a liquid glucose GES. In contrast to their standardized GES results, all 9 had rapid emptying with elevated glycemic excursions. Conclusions Simultaneous blood glucose monitoring with standardized GES protocols may provide a marker for contradictory findings of rapid gastric emptying of the unlabeled carbohydrate component in the standardized meal and may contribute to unexplained postprandial gastrointestinal symptoms. The additional insights provided by fingerstick glucose monitoring are inexpensive, easy to perform and may provide for new approaches to management of patient's gastrointestinal symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-419
Number of pages9
JournalClinical nuclear medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • diabetes
  • functional dyspepsia
  • gastric-emptying scintigraphy
  • gastroparesis
  • glycemic excursions
  • postprandial glucose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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