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Appraisal of the 14C-glycocholate acid test with special reference to the measurement of faecal 14C excretion
  1. J. H. B. Scarpello,
  2. G. E. Sladen


    The 14C-glycocholate test, including the measurement of marker corrected faecal 14C, has been assessed in the following groups of subjects: normal controls (18), patients with diarrhoea not attributable to altered bile acid metabolism (21), patients with diverticula of the small intestine (12), patients with previous resection of ileum and often proximal colon (34), and established ileostomists (10). Patients with diverticular disease had increased breath 14CO2 excretion, but normal faecal excretion of 14C, and this test was more frequently abnormal than the Schilling test. Ileostomists excreted increased amounts of faecal 14C, even when the ileum was intact and apparently normal. The pattern after resection was complex. Breath 14C output was normal if the ileal resection was less than 25 cm in length, although some of these patients had increased faecal 14C excretion if, in addition, at least 15 cm of proximal colon had been resected or by-passed. Longer ileal resections were associated with increased breath and/or faecal 14C excretion, depending in part on the length of colon resected or by-passed and the 24 hour faecal volume. Fewer than half these patients had both increased breath and faecal excretion of isotope and faecal 14C alone was occasionally normal with an ileal resection of 50 cm of more. The 14C-glycocholate test was more frequently abnormal than the Schilling test in this group. The use of faecal marker correction had only a minor impact on the results. These data suggest that, in patients with ileal resection, faecal 14C, like faecal weight, is determined by the extent of colonic resection as well as by the amount of ileum resected.

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