, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 565-570

Gastrobiliary motility after liquid fatty meal in progressive systemic sclerosis

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Gastric emptying, antral motility, and gallbladder emptying after a liquid fatty meal were studied by ultrasound in 25 patients with progressive systemic sclerosis and in 25 sex- and age-matched controls. In patients with systemic sclerosis, the possible role of autonomic dysfunction was evaluated by four noninvasive cardiovascular reflex tests. Despite a significant delay of gastric emptying and a significant postprandial antral hypomotility in the patients with systemic sclerosis, the fat-induced gallbladder emptying was only slightly reduced, reaching no significant level when compared to the controls. The prolongation of gastric emptying correlated significantly with the duration of the disease. Although 36% of the patients in the systemic sclerosis group exhibited signs of autonomic cardiac dysfunction, there was no evidence of an association between these signs and gastric motor dysfunction. In conclusion motility disorders of the gallbladder seem to play a minor role in the upper gut involvement of systemic sclerosis, whereas motility disorders of the stomach are frequent and can be easily recognized noninvasively by real-time ultrasound.