Gastroparesis is diagnosed through a review of symptoms and medical history. Physical examination, ultrasound and blood tests are conducted to rule out structural problems or other possible diseases in the GI tract.

Emily and Ashley are two young women living with gastroparesis. Both very active in patient advocacy programs; Devonport Rotary Club and The Inside Story Gastroparesis Support Group. They present their journeys in being diagnosed with gastroparesis.

High-Definition 1080p Duration 30 minutes

Tests used to diagnose and evaluate gastroparesis may include:

Electrograstrogram - An electrogastrogram (EGG) measures the electrical signals that travel through the stomach muscles by placing sensors on the skin. A graphic is produced from the detected electrical signals indicative of muscular activity and wave-like contractions of the stomach. 

Endoscopy (esophagogastroduodenscopy) - This procedure involves using an endoscope, a small flexible tube with a light and camera, to investigate the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. The small camera mounted on the endoscope transmits a video image to a monitor, allowing detection for any functional obstructions of the oesophagus and examination of the stomach lining. 

Upper GI series (Barium swallow) - A barium sulphate drink is ingested and as it passes through the digestive system the barium coasts the oesophagus, stomach and small intestine. Barium is a naturally occurring element that appears white on X-ray, which once swallowed allows the shape of the upper digestive tract to be outlined on an X-ray. Barium swallow is often used to diagnose a variety of gastrointestinal motility disorders, including gastroparesis if x-ray shows food in the stomach after fasting. 

Gastric emptying scintigraphy - The test involves eating a small meal containing trace amounts of radioactive material (radioisotopes). An external sensory scans the abdomen to detect the location of the radioisotopes and rate of gastric emptying at hourly intervals for up to 4 hours after the meal. If more than 10 precent of the meal remains in the stomach after 4 hours, the diagnosis of gastroparesis is confirmed.  

The SmartPill - The SmartPill is a small electronic device that is swallowed. As it travels through the digestive system it sends information to a wireless receiver carried by the patient. The recorded information provides details on how fast food travels through each part of the digestive tract.  

Breath test - With this test, the patient eats a meal containing a small amount of radioactive material. As the meal is digested and absorbed in the small intestine, the radioisotopes are metabolised and expelled from the lungs. Breath samples are taken over a period of several hours to measure the amount of radioactive material in the exhaled breath. The results can be used to calculate how fast the stomach is emptying.

Doctor Usha Krishnan works as a senior specialist in paediatric gastroenterology at Sydney Children’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia. She understands the added difficulties in diagnosing gastroparesis in children. Dr. Krishnan discusses the diagnosis and management of gastroparesis in young patients.

High-Definition 1080p Duration 37 minutes

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