Who should request a breath hydrogen test? A six-year feasibility, sensitivity of clinical suspicion and cost-effectiveness analysis

Ding You Li, Yvonne Barnes, Richard Thompson, Carmelo Cuffari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: To assess the feasibility of using an at home breath-sampling technique in patients referred for breath hydrogen testing, and to determine the likelihood for a positive breath hydrogen test (BHT) based on whether the ordering physician is a gastroenterologist or general practitioner. Methods: Breath samples were collected via a nasal prong technique and stored in a collection kit. The breath samples were then analyzed using the Quintron microlyzer. A positive BHT was defined as a rise in hydrogen gas concentration of more than 10 ppm above baseline. Results: Over a six-year period (1996 to 2002), 372 consecutive BHTs were performed, 40 in patients younger than 5 years, 201 in patients aged 5 to 18 years, and 131 in patients older than 18 years. Overall, 45 breath samples (12%) were considered unsatisfactory. Patients younger than 5 years (38%) had a significantly higher (P 18 years old [7%]). Of the 328 satisfactory BHTs, 162 (49%) were positive for either lactose intolerance (90%) or small bowel bacterial overgrowth (10%). The likelihood in obtaining a positive BHT was significantly (P

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-270
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Applied Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004



  • Breath hydrogen testing
  • Gastroenterologist
  • General practitioner
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Small bowel bacterial overgrowth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Pharmacology

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