Antro-duodenal Motility Study Guide for Patients

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The antro-duodenal motility study is a test performed to examine how well the muscles of the duodenum contract. A motility disorder is best defined as a medical condition in which small intestine muscles and stomach muscles contract abnormally. Therefore, this test is performed to help diagnose motility disorders.

Why is it Ordered?

When it is suspected that the small intestine or stomach are affected by a motility disorder, this test can be performed to help diagnose it. Abnormal function is often suspected when signs and symptoms of the transport of food through the intestines and stomach is obstructed. Such signs and symptoms include vomiting, nausea, and intestinal enlargement (distention). The obstruction is directly caused by the muscles not contracting properly, resulting in food not be properly propelled through the stomach and intestines. Several medical conditions and disorders can cause intestinal and stomah motility disorders, with one of the most common being diabetes mellitus.

How is it Done?

In order to perform an antro-duodenal motility study, the patient’s health care provider will use a thin tube that is just one-eighth an inch in diameter and insert it into the patient’s nose, down through their esophagus, passed through the patient’s stomach, and into the first part of the small intestine, known as the duodenum. This thin tube can measure how much pressure is being generated by the intestinal and stomach muscles when they contract, with the sensors on the tube, through squeezing the tube tightly. The greater the muscle contracts, the greater the pressure the tube will sense. A computer records all contractions for analysis. This study may take as long as six hours to complete.


In normal cases, the patterns of duodenum and stomach contractions when fasting and after meals are characteristic. If a patient has a small intestine or stomach motility problem, the characteristic patterns are either completely absent or abnormal.

Side Effects

There are not any significant side effects associated with this diagnostic test. After the patient has the tube in them for several hours, they may experience irritation, resulting in a sore throat. On occasion, nasal irritation can occur. The throat and nasal irritation almost always disappears within 24 hours after tube removal.

Possible Alternatives

There are other diagnostic tests that can assist in the diagnosis and evaluation of motility disorders, including gastric emptying studies, upper gastrointestinal x-rays, and electrogastrograms. There is a relatively new device referred to as a Smartpill, or radioelemetry capsule, that can measure how much pressure is generated with intestinal or stomach muscles contractions when they contract around it. The patient will swallow the capsule and it will make its way through the stomach and intestines. The patient will wear a receiver on their outer body and the recorder’s data s later downloaded and then analyzed.


Marks, J.W. MD. (2010). Antro-Duodenal Motility Study. Retrieved on September 9, 2010 from MedicineNet:

AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology. (200). Antroduodenal Motility in Chronic Pancreatitis: Are Abnormalities Related to Exocrine Insufficiency. Retrieved on September 9, 2010 from AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology: