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14C-triolein breath test

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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The 14C-triolein breath test is used to investigate the absorption of fats from the small bowel.

In principle, a 14C-labelled triglyceride is ingested, digested, absorbed and metabolised, releasing 14C-labelled carbon dioxide.

The test may be performed in a day ward and requires laboratory facilities to detect the beta-emitting 14C.

The test is unreliable in the following circumstances:

  • diabetes mellitus
  • gross obesity
  • thyroid disease
  • chronic respiratory insufficiency

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