13C-breath tests for sucrose digestion in congenital sucrase isomaltase-deficient and sacrosidase-supplemented patients

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2009 Apr;48(4):412-8. doi: 10.1097/mpg.0b013e318180cd09.


Background: Congenital sucrase-isomaltase deficiency (CSID) is characterized by absence or deficiency of the mucosal sucrase-isomaltase enzyme. Specific diagnosis requires upper gastrointestinal biopsy with evidence of low to absent sucrase enzyme activity and normal histology. The hydrogen breath test (BT) is useful, but is not specific for confirmation of CSID. We investigated a more specific 13C-sucrose labeled BT.

Objectives: Determine whether CSID can be detected with the 13C-sucrose BT without duodenal biopsy sucrase assay, and if the 13C-sucrose BT can document restoration of sucrose digestion by CSID patients after oral supplementation with sacrosidase (Sucraid).

Methods: Ten CSID patients were diagnosed by low biopsy sucrase activity. Ten controls were children who underwent endoscopy and biopsy because of dyspepsia or chronic diarrhea with normal mucosal enzymes activity and histology. Uniformly labeled 13C-glucose and 13C-sucrose loads were orally administered. 13CO2 breath enrichments were assayed using an infrared spectrophotometer. In CSID patients, the 13C-sucrose load was repeated adding Sucraid. Sucrose digestion and oxidation were calculated as a mean percent coefficient of glucose oxidation averaged between 30 and 90 minutes.

Results: Classification of patients by 13C-sucrose BT percent coefficient of glucose oxidation agreed with biopsy sucrase activity. The breath test also documented the return to normal of sucrose digestion and oxidation after supplementation of CSID patients with Sucraid.

Conclusions: 13C-sucrose BT is an accurate and specific noninvasive confirmatory test for CSID and for enzyme replacement management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biopsy
  • Breath Tests / methods*
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism, Inborn Errors / diagnosis*
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism, Inborn Errors / drug therapy
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism, Inborn Errors / enzymology
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism
  • Carbon Isotopes*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Sucrase / metabolism
  • Sucrase-Isomaltase Complex / deficiency*
  • Sucrase-Isomaltase Complex / genetics
  • Sucrose / metabolism*
  • beta-Fructofuranosidase / therapeutic use*


  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Sucrose
  • Sucrase-Isomaltase Complex
  • beta-Fructofuranosidase
  • Sucrase
  • Glucose