Breath tests are non-invasive, non-radioactive, safe, simple and effective tests able to determine significant metabolic alterations due to specific diseases or lack of specific enzymes. Carbon isotope 13C, the stable-non radioactive isotope of carbon, is the most used substrate in breath testing, in which 13C/12C ratio is measured and expressed as a delta value, a differences between readings and a fixed standard. 13C/12C ratio is measured with isotope ratio mass spectrometry or non-dispersive isotope-selective infrared spectrometer and generally there is a good agreement between these techniques in the isotope ratio estimation. 13C/12C ratio can be expressed as static measurement (like delta over baseline in urea breath test) or as dynamic measurement as percent dose recovery, but more dosages are necessary. 13C Breath-tests are involved in many fields of interest within gastroenterology, such as detection of Helicobacter pylori infection, study of gastric emptying, assessment of liver and exocrine pancreatic functions, determination of oro-caecal transit time, evaluation of absorption and to a lesser extend detection of bacterial overgrowth. The use of every single test in a clinical setting is vary depending on accuracy and substrate costs.
This review is meant to present 13C the meaning of 13C/12C ratio and static and dynamic measure and, finally, the instruments dedicated to its use in gastroenterology.
A brief presentation of 13C breath tests in gastroenterology is also provided.Free PDF Download
To cite this article
M. Pizzoferrato, F. Del Zompo, F. Mangiola, L.R. Lopetuso, V. petito, G. Cammarota, A. Gasbarrini, F. Scaldaferri
Specific 13C functional pathways as diagnostic targets in gastroenterology breath-tests: tricks for a correct interpretation
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Vol. 17 - N. 2 Suppl