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A Journal on Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Dietetics

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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2000 March;46(1):35-44

language: Italian

Malabsorption: current diagnosis trends

Valentini G., Capristo E., De Vitis I., Gasbarrini G.


The aim of this study was to review the problem of malabsorption, listing the main causes and the methods currently used to evaluate the gravity of the syndrome. The study was based primarily on data reported in the literature and on our personal experience at the Institute of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at UCSC. Malabsorption is the term used to describe the defective passage through the intestinal mucosa of normal digestive products (this definition excludes the major chapter of maldigestion). Among the various methods currently used to study this problem, the authors list the most commonly used, highlighting two widely available instruments that are regarded as essential: anamnesis and objective examination. We have noticed that endless tests are often requested for a condition of malabsorption, which are not only expensive but also poorly tolerated by the patient, owing to the lack of a correct diagnostic approach based on a correct anamnesis and thorough objective examination. Lastly, we have put forward a number of guidelines based on personal experience to be followed when examining a patient with suspected malabsorption.

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