Study Title:

Elevated methane levels in small intestinal bacterial overgrowth suggests delayed small bowel and colonic transit.

Study Abstract

Limited research exists regarding the relationship between small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), small bowel transit (SBT), and colonic transit (CT). Furthermore, symptom analysis is limited between the subtypes of SIBO: hydrogen producing (H-SIBO) and methane producing (M-SIBO). The primary aims of this study are to: compare the SBT and CT in patients with a positive lactulose breath test (LBT) to those with a normal study; compare the SBT and CT among patients with H-SIBO or M-SIBO; compare the severity of symptoms in patients with a positive LBT to those with a normal study; compare the severity of symptoms among patients with H-SIBO or M-SIBO.A retrospective review was performed for 89 patients who underwent a LBT and whole gut transit scintigraphy (WGTS) between 2014 and 2016. Seventy-eight patients were included. WGTS evaluated gastric emptying, SBT (normal ≥40% radiotracer bolus accumulated at the ileocecal valve at 6 hours), and CT (normal geometric center of colonic activity = 1.6-7.0 at 24 hours, 4.0-7.0 at 48 hours, 6.2-7.0 at 72 hours; elevated geometric center indicates increased transit). We also had patients complete a pretest symptom survey to evaluate nausea, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, belching, and flatulence.A total of 78 patients (69 females, 9 males, mean age of 48 years, mean BMI of 25.9) were evaluated. Forty-seven patients had a positive LBT (H-SIBO 66%, M-SIBO 34%). Comparison of SBT among patients with a positive LBT to normal LBT revealed no significant difference (62.1% vs 58.6%, P = .63). The mean accumulated radiotracer was higher for H-SIBO compared to M-SIBO (71.5% vs 44.1%; P < .05). For CT, all SIBO patients had no significant difference in geometric centers of colonic activity at 24, 48, and 72 hours when compared to the normal group. When subtyping, H-SIBO had significantly higher geometric centers compared to the M-SIBO group at 24 hours (4.4 vs 3.1, P < .001), 48 hours (5.2 vs 3.8, P = .002), and at 72 hours (5.6 vs 4.3, P = .006). The symptom severity scores did not differ between the positive and normal LBT groups. A higher level of nausea was present in the H-SIBO group when compared to the M-SIBO group.Overall, the presence of SIBO does not affect SBT or CT at 24, 48, and 72 hours. However, when analyzing the subtypes, M-SIBO has significantly more delayed SBT and CT when compared to H-SIBO. These results suggest the presence of delayed motility in patients with high methane levels on LBT.

Study Information

Medicine (Baltimore). 2018 May;97(21):e10554. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000010554.

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