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Ital J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1998 Apr;30(2):211-7.

13C-octanoic acid breath test: a reliable tool for measuring gastric emptying.

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Divisione di Gastroenterologia, Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy.


Non-invasive evaluation of gastric emptying is generally performed by scintigraphy which is, however, not always applicable and is not suitable for children and child-bearing women. Recently, a new method based on stable isotope breath testing has been introduced in clinical practice i.e., the 13C-octanoic acid breath test. An overview is made here of the current knowledge on this technique with special emphasis on the principle of the test, the mathematics used to analyse the results, and the physiological, pathological, and pharmacological aspects of gastric emptying studied with this new method. Possible pitfalls of the test are also reported.

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