¹³C-Sodium acetate breath test to verify gastric emptying

Indications for the Gastro-Acet breath test

Gastro-Acet is a ¹³C-Sodium Acetate breath test to determine the rate at which the liquid contents of the stomach pass into the small intestine. Gastric motility is affected in a number of clinical conditions including diabetes, non-ulcer dyspepsia, GORD and some post operative conditions. The recent development of drugs affecting gastric motility has increased the level of interest in the process.

The viability of the ¹³C-Sodium Acetate breath test in clinical research and as a routine test is currently being evaluated by INFAI. The test is available for clinical research purposes and INFAI welcomes inquiries from researchers and physicians interested in using the ¹³C-Sodium Acetate breath test.


Principle and Protocol for Gastro-Acet 

¹³C-sodium acetate taken orally passes through the stomach and is not absorbed until it reaches the small intestine. Once in the small intestine it is assimilated and metabolised rapidly to carbon dioxide which passes through the bicarbonate pool of the blood and appears in the breath. The rate of gastric emptying is therefore closely correlated to the rate at which 13CO2 appears in exhaled air.

Sodium acetate is a metabolite which is normally present in the body in significant amounts so no adverse effects are to be expected. It is also quite palatable and can be administered in milk, coffee or tea, whichever is most appropriate.