Delayed Gastric Emptying in Anorexic Adolescents Measured with the 13C Octanoic Acid Breath Test
Martine K. F. Docx, Kristin Verbeke, Annik Simons, Joost Weyler, José Ramet, Luc Mertens, Gigi Veereman-Wauters
Department of Child Psychiatry Queen Paola Children’s Hospital Antwerp Belgium and University of Antwerp, Belgium.
Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine University of Antwerp, Belgium.
Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, University Hospital Brussels, Belgium.
Department of Paediatrics Chronic Diseases Queen Paola Children’s Hospital Antwerp, Belgium.
Department of Paediatrics University Hospital Antwerp, Belgium.
Division of Cardiology. The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada.
Laboratory for Digestion and Absorption, University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium.
DOI: 10.4236/fns.2012.38138   PDF    HTML     4,983 Downloads   7,522 Views   Citations


Many gastrointestinal complaints and motility disorders are described in patients suffering from different eating disorders. These have a negative impact on refeeding. This report evaluated–on admission-gastric emptying of a standardized solid meal with 13C octanoic acid breath test in anorexic adolescents. The results were compared with age and gender matched controls. Gastric emptying data were related to a subjective symptom score. 21 Anorexic girls and 3 boys (mean age: 15.6 y ± 1.3 y), body mass index (mean 15.6 kg/m2 ± 1.6 kg/m2), weight loss (mean: 22.2% ± 10.7%) were studied. T? of the gastric emptying time exceeded the P95 in 14/24 (58%) patients, classified as having delayed gastric emptying (DGE). One patient (4%) had a T? exceeding P75 and was classified as slow (SGE), whereas 9/24 (38%) patients had normal gastric emptying (NGE). In comparison to NGE, subjects with DGE had significantly higher symptom scores (p = 0.01) and more weight loss. The DGE and SGE patients lost 25.29% and 21.38% of weight respectively, whereas a weight loss of 17.64% was found in anorexics with NGE. In conclusion, gastric emptying is delayed in patients with anorexia. This is associated with more significant gastrointestinal symptoms and higher weight loss.

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M. Docx, K. Verbeke, A. Simons, J. Weyler, J. Ramet, L. Mertens and G. Veereman-Wauters, "Delayed Gastric Emptying in Anorexic Adolescents Measured with the 13C Octanoic Acid Breath Test," Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 8, 2012, pp. 1043-1047. doi: 10.4236/fns.2012.38138.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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