SmartPill and Solid Gastric Emptying (SGE) Study Denver

The SmartPill

Purpose: The SmartPill study evaluates the speed in which food travels through your entire GI tract.

Description: SmartPill is a new test that measures how long it takes for food to empty from your stomach. This test replaces a solid gastric emptying study, and it is more convenient as you do not have to stay at the radiology department for 4 hours. There is no radioactive material used, and it is more cost effective that the traditional study. The SmartPill test is performed in our office. You should not have anything to eat or drink after midnight the night before. You will come in and eat a standardized meal (special protein bar) then swallow a capsule, and wear a receiver that the capsule transmits information to. You may have anything to eat or drink for 6 hours after the study starts. The test lasts 5 days, and you will return the receiver to our office after the capsule is passed with your stool.

Risks: If you have problems with food emptying from the stomach, the pill can get stuck in your stomach. In some rare cases, you may need an endoscopy to retrieve the pill. If you have a stricture or narrowing in your esophagus or intestine, there is a slim chance that the pill will get stuck, as well. Please let the office staff know if you have had problems with food sticking prior to having this test done.

Alternatives: Depending on your insurance, a solid gastric emptying study (SGE) may be ordered.

Preparation: Do not eat or drink after midnight the night before the SmartPill test. You will need to stop your reflux medication 2 days before the test.

Special Considerations: This study is usually scheduled for Wednesdays or Thursdays in our office. You will need to stop your reflux medications the 2 days before the test.

Solid Gastric Emptying (SGE) Study

Purpose: The solid gastric emptying (SGE) study evaluates the speed in which your stomach empties solid foods (as opposed to liquids), and is the preferred test to diagnose gastroparesis or other gastric motility disorders.

Description: SGE is performed at a hospital radiology department. You will be given some eggs to eat that are labeled with a radioactive material. The radiology staff will then scan your stomach, usually hourly for 4 hours, to see how long it takes for your stomach to empty.

Alternatives: Depending on your insurance, a SmartPill may be substituted for this test.

Risks: The test does involve some exposure to radiation, but it is quite small. Patients who have an allergy to egg should make that known and oatmeal will be substituted. In this case a 1-hour study is performed, though it is not as accurate.

Preparation: Do not eat or drink after midnight the night before solid gastric emptying. The test lasts 4 hours at the hospital, so bring something to read.

Special Considerations: This is a study to see how well your stomach empties over time. This is a 4 hour test, though some radiology departments do the study for 2 hours and calculate emptying at 4 hours based on the 2 hour result. Dr. Bell feels that the 4 hour study is most accurate in making decisions regarding surgery. If your test is not done at Swedish Medical Center, please make sure it is a measured 4 hour study.