A condensed imaging technique was applied to gastric emptying studies to investigate (a) whether different types of motility disorders may be distinguished by characteristic image patterns and (b) whether the findings obtained provide additional information compared to standard quantitative measurements. Condensed images and quantitative data of gastric emptying were evaluated in 75 consecutive patients with normal function (n = 16) and various disorders (n = 59) such as peptic ulcer, postvagotomy, pyloric obstruction, dumping syndrome, gastroparesis etc. Condensed images were generated from a gastric region of interest. They display the distribution and behaviour of a radioactive test meal in a space-time matrix, whose horizontal and vertical dimensions are temporal and spatial, respectively. As shown in a series of representative examples condensed images disclose a variety of well-defined image patterns reflecting different pathophysiological mechanisms. This qualitative characterization of gastric emptying patterns provided in 34 of the 75 patients (45%) important new information compared to quantitative data. The application of condensed imaging techniques to gastric emptying studies (complementary to quantitative measurements) may, therefore, enhance the diagnostic value of scintigraphic techniques.