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      Methodology of the H2 breath test. II. Importance of the test duration in the diagnosis of carbohydrate malabsorption.

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          Abstract

          We analyzed the results of 352 consecutive four-hour lactose hydrogen breath tests with the aim of verifying whether the results after two hours have the same accuracy as those after four hours in the diagnosis of malabsorption of 20g of lactose. Our results show that in 208 subjects who proved to be lactose malabsorbers the mean changes in breath H2 concentration were higher at three and a half hours than at any other time. Moreover, although the majority of the subjects (63%) reached the cut-off value (more than 20 parts per million with respect to the baseline value) in the first two hours of the test, in 76 of our 208 lactose malabsorbers (37%) a hydrogen increase higher than the cut-off value is only detectable after the second hour of the test. Therefore, unlike those who believe that two samples of expired air at 0 time and after two hours are sufficient, we think that for greater diagnostic accuracy the lactose H2 breath test must be prolonged for at least 4 hours.

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          Author and article information

          Affiliations
          [1 ] Policlinico S. Orsola, Università di Bologna, Italy.
          Journal
          Ital J Gastroenterol
          The Italian journal of gastroenterology
          0392-0623
          0392-0623
          Oct 1990
          : 22
          : 5
          2134331

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