Hydrogen concentration in expired air analyzed with a new hydrogen sensor, plasma glucose rise, and symptoms of lactose intolerance after oral administration of 100 gram lactose

A Berg, M Eriksson, F Bárány, K Einarsson, H Sundgren, C Nylander, I Lundström, R Blomstrand
Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology 1985, 20 (7): 814-22
A rapid breath hydrogen analyzer to detect lactose malabsorption is described. After ingestion of a lactose solution the patient expires into a mouthpiece attached to a hydrogen sensor at 30-min intervals for 3 1/2 h. The hydrogen of the expired air causes a voltage change that can be transformed into ppm from a calibration curve. A tolerance test with a load of 100 g lactose was performed in 43 consecutive patients with various gastrointestinal disturbances, referred to the laboratory for the commonly used lactose tolerance test based on plasma glucose measurements. Eleven patients developed symptoms of lactose intolerance during the test. Biopsy specimens from the distal duodenum or proximal jejunum showed partial villous atrophy in one, in whom celiac disease with lactose intolerance was diagnosed; the other 10 had normal specimens. In nine of them lactose intolerance was diagnosed and confirmed by observation for months on a lactose-poor diet. The 10th patient (H.P.L.) did not improve on such a diet. He also showed pronounced symptoms of intolerance during a test with monosaccharides (glucose + galactose). His intestinal disease remained undiagnosed. The 11 patients with symptoms of intolerance and 3 patients without symptoms during the lactose load showed a flat plasma glucose curve after drinking the lactose solution--that is, a maximum rise of the glucose concentration of 1.5 mmol/l. One of the symptom-free patients dropped out and could not be observed, another did not improve on a lactose-poor diet, and the third noticed a favorable effect of the diet on stool consistency but not on other abdominal symptoms.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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