Introduction: Delayed gastric emptying (DGE) often occurs in patients with gastroesophageal reflux (GER) due to neurological impairment (NI). 13C has been used as an alternative tool for measuring the gastric emptying rates. The aim of this study was to predict gastric emptying in children with GER using 13C-acetate breath test (ABT) by 24-hour pH monitoring. Methods: Nineteen patients were divided into 2 groups: a DGE group with NI (14 patients), and normal-emptying group without NI (5 patients). The liquid test meal consisted of RacolTM (5 ml/kg) mixed with 13C-acetate (50 mg for infants, 100 mg for children, and 150 mg for adolescents). 13CO2 was measured using a gas chromatograph-isotope ratio mass spectrometer. The results are expressed as the % of 13C expired per hour and cumulative 13C excretion over a 3-hour periods including the parameters of half excretion and lag time. Results: The mean half excretion time was 1.762 hour in the DGE group and 1.095 hour in the normal-emptying group (P = 0.0196). The mean lag time was 0.971 hour in the DGE group and 0.666 hour in the normal-emptying group (P = 0.0196). Therefore, DGE was significantly more prevalent in the DGE compared to the normal-emptying group. The percentage of the time when the pH was less than 4 on 24-hour esophageal pH monitoring was 21.6% ± 9.2% in the DGE group and 28.5% ± 11.6% in the normal-emptying group (P = 0.4634). Conclusion: The percentage of time when the pH is less than 4 on 24-hour pH monitoring cannot predict DGE measured by the 13C-ABT in GER.
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