Goals: To investigate the relationships between gastric emptying and autonomic dysfunction in hepatic cirrhosis and to assess the effects of cisapride on gastric emptying in cirrhotic patients. Study: Twenty-four cirrhotic patients (8 patients in each Child-Pugh classification) and 25 healthy controls were enrolled. All the patients had viral (B or C) hepatitis. Patients with DM, alcoholic cirrhosis, active peptic ulcer, gastric malignancy and pyloric obstruction were excluded by esophagogastroduodenoscopy. Parasympathetic and sympathetic functions were assessed by the criteria set forth by Ewing and Clark. Drugs affecting GI motility and smoking were discontinued 48 hours and 12 hours prior to the study respectively. A solid-phase of gastric emptying study was conducted by scintigraphic method for the calculation of gastric half-emptying time (GET(1/2)). Results: The study revealed that 9 patients with Child-Pugh B and C cirrhosis had autonomic neuropathy and none of Child-Pugh A cirrhosis had autonomic neuropathy. Prolonged GET(1/2) was noted in cirrhotics compared with the control group (p < 0.05). However, there was significant difference between 9 patients (Child B-C) with autonomic neuropathy compared with patients 15 patients without autonomic neuropathy. Again there was a significant difference in GET(1/2) between Child A cirrhotic and Child B-C cirrhotic whether they had autonomic neuropathy or not. Cisapride decreased GET(1/2) significantly in cirrhotic patients (Child B-C cirrhotic). Clearly, patients with autonomic neuropathy in Child B-C cirrhosis had significantly reduced GET(1/2) after cisapride administration. Even though cisapride decreased GET(1/2) in patients with Child B-C cirrhosis without autonomic neuropathy, this was not significant. Conclusion: Autonomic neuropathy in advanced cirrhosis from viral hepatitis may cause prolonged gastric emptying. Cisapride can shorten gastric emptying time in such patients.