Gut and Liver 2008; 2(3): 180-185 https://doi.org/10.5009/gnl.2008.2.3.180 Unreliability of Breath Methane as a Candidate Indicator of Functional Bowel Disorders
Author Information
Krzysztof Jonderko, Agata Gabriel-Jaśniok, Małgorzata Szymszal, Anna Kasicka-Jonderko, and Barbara Błońska-Fajfrowska
Department of Basic Biomedical Science, School of Pharmacy, Medical University of Silesia, Sosnowiec, Poland

Krzysztof Jonderko
© The Korean Society of Gastroenterology, the Korean Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the Korean Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, Korean College of Helicobacter and Upper Gastrointestinal Research, Korean Association the Study of Intestinal Diseases, the Korean Association for the Study of the Liver, Korean Pancreatobiliary Association, and Korean Society of Gastrointestinal Cancer. All rights reserved.

Abstract
Background/Aims: The aim of this study was to examine the reproducibility of methane and hydrogen in exhaled air breath after a per-oral load of lactulose. Methods: Methane was present in the exhaled breath of 21 of 50 healthy subjects recruited by advertisement. Three methane breath tests were performed in 12 women (aged 23.6±0.5 years, mean±SEM) after they consumed 10 g of lactulose dissolved in 300 ml of water. Short- and medium-term reproducibilities were assessed by paired examinations taken 3 and 17 days (median) apart, respectively. Results: High values of coefficients of variation for paired examinations (CVp) indicated a poor short-term reproducibility of parameters characterizing either the methane or hydrogen excretion in breath air: CVp values of the maximum net increments over baseline in methane (max CH4_net), and in hydrogen (max H2_net), were 34% and 41%, respectively. Moreover, the reproducibility consistently deteriorated with increasing time gap between repeat measurements (CVp: 60% for max CH4_net and 64% for max H2_net). Conclusions: The low reproducibility of parameters characterizing quantitative methane breath excretion suggests that caution is necessary when judging the clinical usefulness of the methane breath test after a per-oral lactulose load for the purpose of diagnosing and classifying functional bowel disorders. (Gut and Liver 2008;2:180- 185)
Keywords: Breath tests; Hydrogen; Lactulose; Methane; Reproducibility
Abstract
Background/Aims: The aim of this study was to examine the reproducibility of methane and hydrogen in exhaled air breath after a per-oral load of lactulose. Methods: Methane was present in the exhaled breath of 21 of 50 healthy subjects recruited by advertisement. Three methane breath tests were performed in 12 women (aged 23.6±0.5 years, mean±SEM) after they consumed 10 g of lactulose dissolved in 300 ml of water. Short- and medium-term reproducibilities were assessed by paired examinations taken 3 and 17 days (median) apart, respectively. Results: High values of coefficients of variation for paired examinations (CVp) indicated a poor short-term reproducibility of parameters characterizing either the methane or hydrogen excretion in breath air: CVp values of the maximum net increments over baseline in methane (max CH4_net), and in hydrogen (max H2_net), were 34% and 41%, respectively. Moreover, the reproducibility consistently deteriorated with increasing time gap between repeat measurements (CVp: 60% for max CH4_net and 64% for max H2_net). Conclusions: The low reproducibility of parameters characterizing quantitative methane breath excretion suggests that caution is necessary when judging the clinical usefulness of the methane breath test after a per-oral lactulose load for the purpose of diagnosing and classifying functional bowel disorders. (Gut and Liver 2008;2:180- 185)
Keywords: Breath tests; Hydrogen; Lactulose; Methane; Reproducibility
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