What is the role of gastric scintiscan in the workup of pediatric gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?

Updated: Mar 14, 2019
  • Author: Steven M Schwarz, MD, FAAP, FACN, AGAF; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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Answer

A gastric scintiscan study, using milk or formula that contains a small amount of technetium sulfur colloid, can assess gastric emptying and reveal reflux (although not the degree or severity of it). However, its major diagnostic role is in the assessment of pulmonary aspiration.

A major error in performing scintigraphy is not performing a delayed scan over the pulmonary bed. Gastroesophageal reflux–related aspiration may occur as an early or late postprandial phenomenon. Accordingly, in addition to the "acute" (ie, 1 h) scintiscan, patients should be rescanned after 24 hours, in order to assess delayed pulmonary soilage by refluxed gastric contents.


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