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Wien Klin Wochenschr. 1996;108(5):137-41.

Assessment of the influence of hydrogen nonexcretion on the usefulness of the hydrogen breath test and lactose tolerance test.

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Medizinische Universitätsklinik, Graz.


The recognition of hydrogen nonexcretion in up to 20% of tested subjects and the large ethnic differences in the prevalence of lactose malabsorption make it necessary to reassess the diagnostic usefulness of the lactose tolerance test and the hydrogen breath test. Both tests were performed in 83 consecutive patients with suspected lactose malabsorption who ingested 50 g lactose. On a separate day a hydrogen breath test was performed after 25 g lactulose. The prevalence of hydrogen nonexcretion was 18%. The diagnostic usefulness of hydrogen breath test was influenced both by the individual threshold for hydrogen excretion and the amount of malabsorbed lactose. In addition to baseline values, breath samples for hydrogen measurements have to be taken at 30, 60, 90, 180, and 240 minutes after ingestion of lactose. For the lactose tolerance test only one measurement of serum glucose at 30 minutes is needed in addition to the baseline measurement. The combination of both tests excludes the influence of hydrogen nonexcretion, but even if a combined diagnostic approach utilizing the lactose hydrogen breath test and lactose tolerance test is used, 6% of patients presenting with symptoms suggestive of lactose intolerance cannot be classified.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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