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  • Chronic GI disorder characterized by delayed gastric emptying without mechanical obstruction
  • More common in women, presumed due to elevated progesterone
  • Symptoms overlap with functional dyspepsia

Causes of Non-Obstructive Delayed Gastric Emptying

Clinical Features

Differential Diagnosis

Nausea and vomiting




Gastroparesis (by organ system)


  • Definitive diagnosis of gastroparesis not typically made in ED
    • Gold standard is gastric emptying scintigraphy of a solid-phase meal
    • Other studies assessing emptying: tests, upper GI barium study, ultrasound for changes in antral area
  • ED workup to exclude alternative diagnoses and complications (e.g. dehydration, Electrolyte abnormalities)
  • CBC, BMP, LFTs, lipase
  • Urinalysis, uHCG
  • Consider:
    • ECG (if >50 or at risk for cardiac disease)
    • RUQ US
    • Acute abdominal series including an upright CXR (if risk for perforated ulcer)
    • CT abdomen/pelvis to rule out obstruction
    • Upper endoscopy or radiographic upper GI series to exclude mechanical obstruction or ulcer disease


ED Management



  • Discharge with outpatient follow up unless:
    • Inability to tolerate PO
    • Need for ongoing IV rehydration, electrolyte correction, and/or glycemic control

See Also

External Links


  • 1. Parkman HP, Hasler WL, Fisher RS. American Gastroenterlogical Association technical review on the diagnosis and treatment of gastroparesis. Gastroenterology. 2004; 127(5): 1592-1622.