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Bile acid malabsoption: a forgotten diagnosis?

Clin Med. 2010 Apr;10(2):124-6

Authors: Khalid U, Lalji A, Stafferton R, Andreyev J

Bile acid malabsorption (BAM) is never life threatening but can cause chronic symptoms. A survey of senior British gastroenterologists was conducted to examine their approach to patients with potential BAM. Of the 706 gastroenterologists contacted, 62% replied. Gastroenterologists see on average 500 new patients in clinic annually; 34% have chronic diarrhoea and 1% are diagnosed with BAM. In those with chronic diarrhoea, 6% of gastroenterologists investigate for BAM first line, while 61% consider the diagnosis only in selected patients or not at all. Sixty-one per cent of patients are diagnosed with type 1 BAM (secondary to terminal ileal disease), 22% have type 2 (idiopathic bile acid malabsorption) and 15% type 3 (unrelated to terminal ileal disease). Only one third of gastroenterologists use a definitive diagnostic test for BAM. BAM (particularly type 2) is under-diagnosed because it is frequently not considered and even when considered, many patients are not subjected to definitive diagnostic testing.

PMID: 20437979 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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