- PURPOSE: To quantify healthy postprandial: 1) propagation, periodicity, geometry, and percentage occlusion by distal antral contraction waves (ACWs); and 2) changes in ACW activity in relationship to gastric emptying (GE). MATERIALS AND METHODS: Using 1.5-T MR scanner, nine healthy fasted volunteers were examined in the right decubitus position after ingestion of 500 mL of 10% glucose (200 kcal) with 500 microM Gd-DOTA. Total gastric (TGV) and meal volumes (MV) were assessed every five minutes for 90 minutes, in and interspersed with dynamic scan sequences (duration: 2.78 minutes) providing detailed images of distal ACWs. RESULTS: TGV increased by 738+/-38 mL after ingestion (t0), subsequently decreasing in parallel to GE. The mean GE rate and half-emptying time were 24+/-3 mL/5 minutes and 71+/-6 minutes, respectively. Accompanying ACWs reached a periodicity of 23+/-2 seconds at t35 and propagated at an unvarying speed of 0.27+/-0.01 cm/second. Their amplitude of 0.70+/-0.08 cm was constant, but the width decreased along the antral wall by 6+/-2%/cm (P=0.003). ACWs were nonocclusive (percentage occlusion 58.1+/-5.9%, t0 at the pylorus) with a reduction in occlusion away from the pylorus (P<0.001). No propagation and geometry characteristics of ACWs correlated with the changes of MV (mL/5 minutes; R2<0.05). CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that ACWs are not imperative for emptying of liquids. This study provides a detailed quantitative reference for MRI inquiries into pharmacologically- and pathologically-altered gastric motility.