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January 27, 1997

A Standardized Diet for Performing Fecal Fat Excretion Studies

Author Affiliations

Tucson, Ariz

Arch Intern Med. 1997;157(2):245-246. doi:10.1001/archinte.1997.00440230125023

Quantitative fecal fat excretion analysis is a test that is frequently used in the evaluation of diarrhea and malabsorption. Unfortunately, the dietary fat intake during the testing period influences the outcome. The clinical usefulness of the test can thereby be affected. We propose the use of a standardized diet for timed analysis of fecal fat excretion. We also provide 2 sample menus that can be used for this purpose.

Quantitative analysis of fecal fat excretion has become an invaluable tool in the evaluation of diarrhea. The protocol described by Van de Kamer et al1 in 1949 is still used today, with only minor modifications. The test is clinically useful in determining the cause of diarrhea. Other investigators have suggested that the degree of steatorrhea is helpful in distinguishing pancreatic insufficiency from other causes of malabsorption,2,3 The dilemma concerning the determination of fecal fat excretion during a timed interval

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