Use of the SeHCAT test in the investigation of diarrhoea.
Ford GA., Preece JD., Davies IH., Wilkinson SP.
The SeHCAT test was used to investigate possible bile acid malabsorption in 166 patients presenting to a district general hospital with chronic diarrhoea of uncertain cause. Eighty-four (51%) patients had impaired SeHCAT retention. These included 23 of 28 patients with a possible type I abnormality (terminal ileal resection or disease, previous pelvic radiotherapy), 20 of 74 with a possible type II abnormality (idiopathic diarrhoea), 32 of 45 with a possible type III abnormality (post-cholecystectomy, post-vagotomy), and 9 of 19 with diarrhoea associated with diabetes. Patients with severe bile acid malabsorption demonstrated a good response to cholestyramine whereas the response in patients with a mildly abnormal SeHCAT retention was variable. Bile acid malabsorption is an important cause of diarrhoea in patients presenting with unexplained chronic diarrhoea.