Lester NV, Roberts GD, Newell SM, et al.
Barium impregnated polyethylene spheres (BIPS) are radiopaque markers used for investigation of a variety of gastrointestinal disorders. One proposed use of the small (1.5 mm) marker is quantitative assessment of solid-phase gastric emptying, which may offer a simple, inexpensive alternative to nuclear medicine studies. In this study the rate and pattern of gastric emptying of a radiolabeled meal containing 30 small BIPS was evaluated in normal dogs by simultaneous comparison of the radiopaque marker method and a scintigraphic method. Serial scintigraphic images and radiographs were obtained for 8 hours or until 95% of the markers had left the stomach. Emptying curves were constructed and statistical analyses performed. There were significant differences in gastric emptying times and lag phase characteristics between the BIPS and scintigraphic studies. These results indicate that in normal dogs there are differences in both the rate and the pattern of solid-phase gastric emptying of a radiolabeled meal as assessed by scintigraphy and the gastric emptying of small BIPS.