Our aim was to evaluate gastric emptying and orocecal transit in patients with end-stage liver disease and portal hypertension undergoing evaluation for liver transplantation. Although gastric emptying half-times for both liquid and solid emptying were similar in patients with chronic liver disease and control subjects, orocecal transit, as measured by a scintigraphic technique, was significantly prolonged in the patients with liver disease (transit time, minutes, mean ± SEM, patients versus controls: 127 ± 10.5 versus 80 ± 9.5, P < .003). Serum levels of progesterone and estradiol were similar in patients and controls. We conclude that small intestinal transit is delayed in patients with advanced liver disease and portal hypertension and may contribute to gastrointestinal symptoms and promote sepsis of enteric origin in this patient population.
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