How is cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose CVS by ruling out other conditions that may have similar symptoms. These include:

  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).
  • Volvulus or malrotation (twisting of the intestine).
  • UPJ obstruction (a urinary blockage at the point where one of the kidneys attaches to one of the tubes to the bladder [ureters]).
  • A number of different metabolic disorders.

For the diagnosis of CVS, the doctor will ask questions about your medical and family history. He or she will do an exam to check your digestive system and nervous system. The doctor may order metabolic and liver function tests in addition to running tests on the blood and urine. The doctor also may order any of the following:

  • Abdominal ultrasound.
  • Upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract X-ray series.
  • Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • Upper GI endoscopy.
  • Gastric emptying test.

If an upper endoscopy is ordered, a physician inserts a small, flexible tube through the throat and into the stomach in order to view the interior of the upper GI tract utilizing sedation or anesthesia. If a gastric emptying test is ordered in radiology, the patient eats a meal containing a marker that is tracked by a radiologist to see how well the digestive system is working. The physician will determine which if any of the above tests are required based on an individual patient’s history and physical examination findings as well as lab work if performed.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy