Validation of Ultrasonography for Assessment of Gastric Emptying Time in Healthy Cats by Radionuclide Scintigraphy

Husnik R, Fletcher JM, Gaschen L, et al.

Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 2017;31:394-401.

Background The prevalence of gastric emptying (GE) disorders in cats is unknown due to lack of clinically applicable diagnostic tests. Objectives The principal aim of this study was to assess correlation between scintigraphic and ultrasonographic measurements of GE time (GET) in healthy cats. Additionally, variability of ultrasonographic GET, and correlation between scintigraphy and ultrasonographic parameters of gastric motility were evaluated. Animals Eight healthy domestic shorthair cats. Methods Prospective study. Scintigraphic GET was determined using a solid test meal containing 4 mCi 99mTc-mebrofenin. Each cat had 3 separate ultrasonographic assessments of GE, performed independent of scintigraphic assessment, after solid test meal consumption. The motility index (MI) of antral contractions was plotted against time and time for each fraction of the area under the MI curve determined. Ultrasonographic GET and MI were correlated to scintigraphic GET. Results Scintigraphic GET (mean ± SD) for 25, 50, and 75% GE was 103 ± 32 minutes, 196 ± 45 minutes, and 288 ± 62 minutes, whereas sonographic GET for 25, 50, and 75% GE was 106 ± 13 minutes, 203 ± 19 minutes, and 305 ± 27 minutes. There was good correlation between scintigraphic and sonographic GET (r = 0.72–0.82) at 45–90% fractional GE and between scintigraphic GET and time of corresponding MI curve fraction (r = 0.78–0.86) at 40–90% fraction of the MI curve. There was moderate intraindividual variability for sonographic GET and MI curve fraction times as well as significant variation among individuals. Conclusions and clinical importance Ultrasonography is a valid alternative to scintigraphy for assessment of solid-phase GE and allows assessment of postprandial gastric motility in healthy cats.