The 14C-aminopyrine breath test was used to measure liver function in 14 normal subjects, 16 patients with alcoholic cirrhosis, 14 alcoholics without cirrhosis, and 29 patients taking a variety of drugs. The normal value for the breath test was 8.6 +/- 1.5%, whereas it was significantly lower (5.1 +/- 3.8%) in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis. Higher than normal values were found in some alcoholic patients without cirrhosis and in patients receiving enzyme-inducing drugs, such as phenobarbitone. There was a significant correlation between serum gamma-glutamyltransferase and breath test in these groups. Some patients with alcoholic cirrhosis may also be capable of enzyme induction.
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