Scintigraphic determination of gastrointestinal transit times. A comparison with breath hydrogen and radiologic methods

J L Madsen, N E Larsen, J Hilsted, H Worning

32 Citations (Scopus)


A scintigraphic method for determination of gastrointestinal transit times was compared with the breath hydrogen test and a multiple-bolus, single-radiograph technique. A close temporal association was found between the caecal appearance of radioactivity and the onset of breath hydrogen excretion in eight healthy subjects. Neither mean small-intestinal nor mean orocaecal transit times of the radiolabelled marker were correlated with the magnitude of hydrogen peak, hydrogen peak time, or the area under hydrogen curve. No correlation was noted between whole-gut transit time of the radiolabelled marker and mean whole-gut transit time calculated from a 6-day administration of the radiopaque marker in 16 healthy subjects. The stool weight was inversely correlated with the mean colonic (r = -0.46, p = 0.009) and the mean whole-gut (r = -0.45, p = 0.011) transit times of the radiolabelled marker. In conclusion, inadequate delineation of the caecal region seems to be an unimportant drawback of the scintigraphic measurements, whereas day-to-day variation in gastrointestinal transit rates may influence the reliability of the assessments. Probably, quantitative transit data cannot be obtained from the breath hydrogen concentration profiles.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1263-71
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1991


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breath Tests
  • Digestive System
  • Female
  • Food
  • Gastrointestinal Motility
  • Gastrointestinal Transit
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen
  • Indium Radioisotopes
  • Lactulose
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Technetium Tc 99m Pentetate
  • Time Factors


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