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Panminerva Medica 1998 September;40(3):183-5

Copyright © 2000 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Effect of moderate and heavy alcohol consumption on intestinal transit time

Papa A., Tursi A., Cammarota G., Certo M., Cuoco L., Montalto M., Cianci R., Papa V., Fedeli P., Fedeli G., Gasbarrini G.

From the Department of Internal Medicine Division of Gastroenterology, Policlinico «A. Gemelli» Catholic University, Rome, Italy


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Background. Alcohol ­abusers fre­quently ­have gas­troin­tes­tinal symp­toms, ­such as diar­rhea, ­nausea and vom­iting. In the gen­esis of ­these symp­toms mul­tiple mech­a­nisms are ­involved, ­including alter­a­tion of gas­troin­tes­tinal ­motility. The aim of our ­study was to inves­ti­gate oro-­cecal ­transit ­time (­OCTT) ­using the H2-­breath ­test (H2-BT) in mod­erate and ­heavy ­drinkers.
Materials and ­methods. We ­studied 40 ­chronic ­drinkers: 20 ­with ­heavy ­alcohol con­sump­tion (≥60 g/day for men and ≥40 g/day for ­women) and 20 ­with mod­erate ­alcohol ­intake (<60 g/day for men and <40 g/day for ­women). The con­trol ­group con­sisted of 20 tee­total sub­jects. All sub­jects under­went a lac­tu­lose H2-BT to ­assess ­OCTT.
Results. ­OCTT in ­heavy ­alcohol ­drinkers ­ranged ­from 100 to 240 ­min, ­with a ­mean of 149.5 ­min, ­while ­OCTT in mod­erate ­drinkers ­ranged ­from 70 to 140 ­min, ­with a ­mean of 109 ­min. In the con­trol ­group the ­mean ­OCTT was 100 ­mins, ­ranging ­from 70 to 130 ­min. The dif­fer­ence ­between ­alcohol ­abusers and con­trols was sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant; on the con­trary, ­there was no sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence ­between mod­erate ­alcohol ­drinkers and tee­to­tal­lers.
Conclusions. Our ­study ­shows ­that ­only in ­chronic ­heavy ­alcohol ­drinkers is ­OCTT ­clearly ­increased. Multiple mech­a­nisms are hypoth­e­sized to ­explain ­motility dis­order, ­such as vis­ceral auto­nomic neu­rop­athy, inflam­ma­tion and ­loss of con­trac­tile pro­teins of ­smooth ­muscle ­layer of the ­small intes­tine.

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