[Importance of functional diagnostics in gastroenterology]
In this review article important and frequently used investigation methods for gastrointestinal functional diagnostics are presented. Some other rarely used special investigations are also explained. The hydrogen breath test is simple to carry out, ubiquitously available and enables the detection of lactose, fructose and sorbitol malabsorption.
Furthermore, by the application of glucose, the test can be carried out when there is a suspicion of abnormal intestinal bacterial colonization and using lactulose for measuring small intestinal transit time. The 13C urea breath test is applied for non-invasive determination of Helicobacter pylori infections and assessment of gastrointestinal transit time, liver and exocrine pancreas functions. The secretin cholecystokinin test was the gold standard for the detection of exocrine pancreas insufficiency. However, measurement of pancreatic elastase in stool is less invasive but also less sensitive.
Scintigraphy and capsule investigations with pH and temperature probes constitute important methods for determination of gastric emptying, intestinal and colon transit times. For evaluation of constipation panoramic abdominal images are taken after intake of radiologically opaque markers (Hinton test). For the diagnosis of functional esophageal diseases manometry is indispensable. In addition, manometry is only occasionally used for diagnosing a dysfunction of the sphincter of Oddi, due to the danger of inducing pancreatitis.
A 24 h pH-metry is applied for the detection of non-erosive gastroesophageal reflux disease and, if necessary, with impedance measurements. Recent investigation procedures, e. g. specific MRI sequences, sonographicdetermination of gall bladder ejection fraction, analysis of gastric accomodation or real-time lumen imaging, require further evaluation prior to clinical application.
Hollenbach M, Hoffmeister A, Rosendahl J, Mössner J.
Internist (Berl). 2018 Jan; 59(1): 25−37