What Is a Gastric Emptying Scan?

A gastric emptying scan is a test that measures the amount of time it takes for food to leave the stomach and enter the small intestine, explains MedicineNet. Doctors may order the scan for patients who experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or fullness, or weakness after eating.

A gastric emptying scan is performed by a nuclear radiologist, according to MedicineNet. A radioactive dye is mixed into the liquid the patient consumes along with a meal. This dye allows the radiologist to track the food as it passes through the digestive track. This test can take several hours. The results from this test let a patient's doctor know if rapid emptying or slow emptying of the stomach is occurring.