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Role of fasting gastrointestinal motility in the variability of gastrointestinal transit time assessed by hydrogen breath test.
  1. C Di Lorenzo,
  2. C P Dooley,
  3. J E Valenzuela
  1. Department of Medicine, USC School of Medicine, Los Angeles.


    Gastrointestinal motility and transit time, measured by the hydrogen breath test, were simultaneously assessed in six healthy volunteers. Each subject underwent six studies on separate days. On each day motility was measured in the gastric antrum, duodenum, and proximal jejunum and 15 g of lactulose was given either by mouth during gastric phases I, II, III of the motor migrating complex or infused duodenally during duodenal phases I, II, III, one phase being studied each day in random order. Fasting activity was not interrupted by the lactulose. The lactulose transit time decreased significantly from a peak with phase I through phase II to a minimum with phase III (mean (SD) 155 (26) min v 120 (10) min v 94 (14) min, p less than 0.001). Similar results were noted when the lactulose was instilled intraduodenally (156 (23) min v 125 (19) min v 100 (17) min, p less than 0.001). No correlation was found between motility index and transit. These results suggest that different phases of fasting gastrointestinal motility are major determinants of the transit time estimated by the hydrogen breath test and explain the variability of this test in practice.

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