Malabsorption SyndromesBai J.C.
Universidad del Salvador, and Hospital de Gastroenterología ‘Dr. Carlos Bonorino Udaondo’, Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Background/Aims: Malabsorption syndromes commonly result from a pathological interference of the normal digestive process. There have been major advances in the last 4 years. The purpose of this review is to highlight in the form of a brief summary the most outstanding information available. Methods: The review was performed based on a medical literature search using MEDLINE (1993–1997), bibliographic reviews of book chapters and review articles. As a consequence of the extensive information incorporated in the period and the limited scope of this review, the review will focus in three aspects: (1) an overview on some clinical aspects of malabsorption; (2) diseases in which predominates the disturbed mucosal phase of the digestive process, and (3) providing information on diagnostic testing regarding malabsorption. Results: Major advances on celiac disease, Whipple’s disease, giardiasis, tropical sprue, malabsorption of oligo- and disaccharides, vitamin B12 and bile salts are discussed. New aspects on diagnostic procedures for malabsorption are also presented. Conclusion: Although major advances have given a great support to the investigation of malabsorption, yet the syndrome remains a major diagnostic dilemma. Based on the limited availability of most diagnostic tests, a simple and practical diagnostic algorithm is presented.
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