The radioactive triolein test has been compared with two chemical methods for the assessment of fat absorption in a group of inpatients from general medical wards. The special feature of the investigation is the use of a radioactive faecal marker to measure the completeness of faecal collections during the investigation period. Estimations of unabsorbed 131I triolein and faecal fat measured by the chemical methods were made on the same specimens.
The results showed that only 48% of the patients provided a complete collection of faeces (defined as a recovery of more than 90% of the faecal marker). From these patients good correlations were found between the triolein absorption test and the two chemical methods.
It is suggested that previous criticism of the radioactive triolein test may have been due to incomplete faecal collections causing false results.
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