Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth Diagnosed by Glucose Hydrogen Breath Test in Post-cholecystectomy Patients

J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2015 Oct 1;21(4):545-51. doi: 10.5056/jnm15020.


Background/aims: Patients undergoing cholecystectomy may have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). We investigated the prevalence and characteristics of SIBO in patients with intestinal symptoms following cholecystectomy.

Methods: Sixty-two patients following cholecystectomy, 145 with functional gastrointestinal diseases (FGIDs), and 30 healthy controls undergoing hydrogen (H2)-methane (CH4) glucose breath test (GBT) were included in the study. Before performing GBT, all patients were interrogated using bowel symptom questionnaire. The positivity to GBT indicating the presence of SIBO, gas types and bowel symptoms were surveyed.

Results: Post-cholecystectomy patients more often had SIBO as evidenced by a positive (+) GBT than those with FGID and controls (29/62, 46.8% vs 38/145, 26.2% vs 4/30, 13.3%, respectively; P = 0.010). In the gas types, the GBT (H2) + post-cholecystectomy patients was significantly higher than those in FGIDs patients (P = 0.017). Especially, positivity to fasting GBT (H2) among the GBT (H2)+ post-cholecystectomy patients was high, as diagnosed by elevated fasting H2 level. The GBT+ group had higher symptom scores of significance or tendency in abdominal discomfort, bloating, chest discomfort, early satiety, nausea, and tenesmus than those of the GBT negative group. The status of cholecystectomy was the only significant independent factor for predicting SIBO.

Conclusions: The SIBO with high levels of baseline H2 might be the important etiologic factor of upper GI symptoms for post-cholecystectomy patients.

Keywords: Breath test; Cholecystectomy; Glucose.