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Gut. Feb 1989; 30(2): 171–175.
PMCID: PMC1378297

Statistical analysis of the lactulose/breath hydrogen test in the measurement of orocaecal transit: its variability and predictive value in assessing drug action.


The variability in the orocaecal transit time as measured by the lactulose/breath hydrogen method has been studied for three conditions: lactulose given with a meal, subjects sitting; lactulose given with a meal, subjects semirecumbent; lactulose given in aqueous solution, subjects semirecumbent. Thirty three healthy subjects attended on up to 12 occasions. It was found that administration of the lactulose with a meal significantly reduced the variability (p less than 0.05) and that adoption of the semirecumbent position further reduced variability. A power analysis was used to predict the number of subjects who would be required to show a given percentage change in orocaecal transit time at specified probabilities and powers. A graph and a table for use in the prediction of subject numbers at a probability of 5% and for powers of 50-99% is presented. A dose response curve for metoclopramide using the lactulose/breath hydrogen method is given for doses of 10, 15, and 20 mg.

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Selected References

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  • La Brooy SJ, Male PJ, Beavis AK, Misiewicz JJ. Assessment of the reproducibility of the lactulose H2 breath test as a measure of mouth to caecum transit time. Gut. 1983 Oct;24(10):893–896. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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