A Prospective Evaluation of Ileocecal Valve Dysfunction and Intestinal Motility Derangements in Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

Dig Dis Sci. 2017 Dec;62(12):3525-3535. doi: 10.1007/s10620-017-4726-4. Epub 2017 Sep 4.


Background: Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is an increasingly recognized clinical syndrome; however, its etiophathogenesis is poorly understood. We hypothesized that loss of gastric acid, a delayed intestinal transit, and ileocecal valve dysfunction may contribute to the genesis of this syndrome.

Aims: Our primary aim was to assess these parameters using wireless motility capsule (WMC) testing and to correlate them with the presence or absence of SIBO.

Methods: We prospectively evaluated 30 consecutive patients at a tertiary care center with suspected SIBO, diagnosed by lactulose hydrogen breath testing (LBT), and small bowel aspirate microbiology. Patients underwent WMC testing to assess ileocecal junction pressure (ICJP), small bowel transit time (SBTT), and regional gastrointestinal pH.

Results: Thirty patients completed testing; 15 had a positive LBT, and 11 had a positive aspirate culture. As compared with LBT-negative patients, ICJP was lower (27.8 vs. 72.7 mmHg, p = 0.027), SBTT was longer (10.0 vs. 1.1 h, p = 0.004), gastric pH was higher (3.63 vs. 2.42, p < 0.01), and small bowel pH was higher (6.96 vs. 6.61, p = 0.05). A hypotensive ICJP (<46.61 mmHg) was more prevalent in LBT-positive patients as compared with LBT-negative patients (73.3 vs. 14.29%, p = 0.003). Logistic regression models were used to assess the magnitude of each measured WMC parameter and the presence of SIBO. p values ≤0.05 were considered statistically significant.

Conclusions: Patients with SIBO have significantly lower ICJP, prolonged SBTT, and a higher gastrointestinal pH as compared to those without SIBO. These abnormalities may play different roles in the pathogenesis of SIBO, facilitating more targeted treatment to prevent recurrences of SIBO.

Keywords: Diarrheal disorders; Ileocecal valve; Small bowel dysmotility; Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO); Small intestinal disorders.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blind Loop Syndrome / etiology*
  • Dysbiosis / etiology*
  • Female
  • Gastric Emptying
  • Gastrointestinal Transit*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Ileocecal Valve / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies