The relation between gastric emptying and the intragastric distributon of 300 ml radiolabelled beef consomme with and without 60 g margarine was investigated by performing randomised, paired gammacamera studies in seven healthy male volunteers (aged 20-22 years). The low calorie bland meal emptied rapidly from both the proximal and distal stomach after a short lag period (4-6 min), during which 24-50% of the liquid passed into the distal stomach. Addition of margarine to the liquid test meal increased the lag period (median 32 min, range 7-60 min; p < 0.01) and decreased the slope of emptying (T 1/2 lag period 88 min, 49-146 min v 15 min, 10-57 min; p < 0.01). During the lag period there was an initial filling of the distal stomach, similar to that with the bland liquid, followed by a redistribution of between 19% and 61% (median 46%) of the distal stomach contents back into the proximal stomach. At the onset of emptying, the distal stomach filled (median 30%, range 16-34%) and during this time the proximal stomach emptied twice as fast as the whole stomach (p < 0.05). Thereafter, the distal stomach capacity remained relatively constant while both the proximal and whole stomach emptied at similar rates. This study shows that the delay in gastric emptying of a liquid that has a high fat content is due in part to a redistribution of distal stomach contents back into the proximal stomach.
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