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Comparing radiopaque markers and 13C-labelled breath test in diabetic gastroparesis diagnostics

Authors Sangnes DA, Søfteland E, Teigland T, Dimcevski G

Received 8 January 2019

Accepted for publication 13 March 2019

Published 7 May 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 193—201


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Wing-Kin Syn

Dag A Sangnes,1–3 Eirik Søfteland,1,4 Tonje Teigland,1,5 Georg Dimcevski1,3

1Department of Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway; 2The National Centre for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway; 3Clinical Institute 1, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway; 4Hormone Laboratory, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway; 5Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen, Norway

Purpose: Determining gastric emptying is mandatory in the diagnosis of diabetic gastroparesis. Several methods of investigation exist, but none has proven reliable, inexpensive and accessible. In this study, we aimed to compare gastric emptying of radiopaque markers (ROM) and 13carbon-labelled gastric emptying breath tests for solids (GEBT). We also aimed to determine any association between gastric emptying and patient-reported symptoms, glycemic control and the patients’ age, diabetes duration and occurrence of other late complications.
Patients and methods: Forty-five patients (30 women, 15 men) with diabetes mellitus types 1 or 2 (40, 5) and symptoms of gastroparesis were examined with ROM and GEBT. All were interviewed, filled out symptom questionnaires and had HbA1c levels measured.
Results: Forty percent of patients had delayed gastric emptying of ROM, while 55% had delayed gastric emptying of GEBT. Correlation between ROM and GEBT was not significant. Compared to GEBT, sensitivity for a positive ROM test was 0.52, while specificity was 0.74. In women, we found a higher specificity of 0.92, sensitivity 0.47. Difference in HbA1c between patients with positive and negative results was of borderline significance for both tests. GEBT (r=0.41, P=0.008) correlated with HbA1c. Patients with any late complications of diabetes had higher gastric retention of ROM (P=0.028), while patients with polyneuropathy (P=0.014) and diabetic wounds (P=0.004) had slower emptying with GEBT. None of the methods identified significant associations between gastric emptying and symptom scores, age or diabetes duration.
Conclusions: As a measure of gastric emptying, the ROM test has benefits of being affordable and available. Compared to GEBT, the method has low diagnostic reliability. Before continued use, we recommend additional studies validating the test in diabetes patients.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus, gastroparesis, gastric emptying, radiopaque markers, 13carbon-labelled gastric emptying breath tests, patient-reported outcomes

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