Breath-hydrogen test for small-intestinal bacterial colonisation

Lancet. 1976 Mar 27;1(7961):668-9. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(76)92779-3.


Breath-hydrogen production after oral glucose administration was examined in patients suspected of having small-intestinal colonisation and compared with the 14C-glycine-cholate breath test (14C-G.C.) and with bacteriological examination of the small intestine. Of 17 patients, 12 had bacteriological evidence of small-intestinal colonisation. Each breath test showed 8 of the 12 patients to be colonised, but only 5 patients gave positive results with both tests. Nevertheless, using both tests only 1 patients out of 12 with small-intestinal colonisation would have been missed. There were no false-positive results in the 5 bacteriologically normal patients when the breath-hydrogen test was used. It is concluded that simultaneous use of these two relatively simple breath tests may improve the indirect diagnosis of small-intestinal colonisation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Breath Tests / methods*
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Deuterium / analysis*
  • Deuterium / biosynthesis
  • Enterobacteriaceae / metabolism
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • False Negative Reactions
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Glucose
  • Glycocholic Acid
  • Humans
  • Jejunum / microbiology*


  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Deuterium
  • Glycocholic Acid
  • Glucose