The availability of the gamma-labelled bile acid 75SeHCAT, that allows a non-invasive assessment of the enterohepatic circulation of bile acids, has prompted in the last 10 years the implementation of several studies involving wide series of normal subjects and patients with various organic and functional bowel disorders. The clinical indications for performing a SeHCAT test have been clearly defined: the test can identify with high accuracy, in the setting of the irritable bowel syndrome, the patients with bile acid malabsorption that can be confidently and successfully treated with cholestyramine; it can also assess whether, and to what extent, the diarrhoea presenting in patients with intestinal organic disorders is due to bile acid malabsorption, permitting an optimal therapeutic strategy to be designed. The parameters of the hepatic handling of SeHCAT after bolus intravenous administration have been characterized in normals, and studies on various chronic hepatic disorders are now in progress. Interesting results are emerging from studies performed in patients with chronic non-obstructive cholestatic disease, where a specific defect in the excretion rate of SeHCAT is present: these studies may cast more light on the abnormalities of bile secretion and on the mechanism of action of drugs used to treat this condition, forming the rationale for the use of intravenous SeHCAT for hepatobiliary dynamic scintigraphy as a sophisticated liver function test. In conclusion, the SeHCAT test has become an important diagnostic tool for the gastroenterologist studying the diarrhoea, and awaits more studies to be used also by the hepatologist. The relatively long physical half-life of 75Se (180 days), preventing a wider use of the test, could theoretically be overcome by the synthesis of a similar gamma-labelled bile acid with a shorter half-life.
|Translated title of the contribution||The clinical importance of physiopathological studies of the bile salts performed using the gamma-emitting bile acid SeHCAT|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 1992|
ASJC Scopus subject areas