[Evaluation of lipid digestion using the 13C-mixed triglyceride breath test in patients with chronic pancreatitis]

Segundo Morán-Villota, María Elena Arteaga, Gustavo Arturo Rodríguez-Leal, Mayela Medina-Zavala, Irazú Gallardo-Wong, Pilar Milke-García, Margarita Dehesa-Violante
Revista de Gastroenterología de México 2007, 72 (3): 202-6

BACKGROUND: Steatorrhea represents the indirect sign of lipid maldigestion in chronic pancreatitis and even when the measurement of fecal fat is considered as a gold standard for the diagnosis of steatorrhea, this test is not commonly used within clinical practice because of the inconvenience related to sample collection. Although the use of breath test using mixted tryglicerides was initally validated as an indirect alternative for the assessment of exocrine pancreas reserve, only recently has used this method as a surrogate for the measurement of fat in feces.

AIM: To evaluate fat digestion by means of the breath test with 13C labelled mixed triglycerides in patients with chronic pancreatitis.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Patients with chronic pancreatitis underwent clinical and biochemical evaluation. The latter included serum amylase, lipase, betacarotenes; fecal fat analysis and breath test using 13C-mixed tryglicerides. Breath test results are expressed as the percentage of 13C recovered in the breath sample.

RESULTS: Seventeen patients (age: 45 +/- 5 years) were included, of which 7 had steatorrhea (fecal fat greater than 7 g/day). In patients with steatorrhea, the percentage of recovered 13C from breath was significantly lower (6 +/- 4%) than in patients without it (25 +/- 5%).

CONCLUSION: Results suggest the uselfuness of breath test with 13C-mixed tryglicerides as an alternative for the assessment of lipid digestion in patients with chronic pancreatitis.

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