Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth in Functional Dyspepsia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Am J Gastroenterol. 2021 May 1; 116(5):935-942. doi: 10.14309/ajg.0000000000001197.
Gurusamy, S. R., Shah, A., Talley, N. J., Koloski, N., Jones, M. P., Walker, M. M., Morrison, M., & Holtmann, G.


Introduction: This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to determine the role of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) in patients with functional dyspepsia (FD).

Methods: Electronic databases were searched until July 2020 for studies reporting prevalence of SIBO in FD. The prevalence rates, odds ratio, and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of SIBO in FD and controls were calculated.

Results: Seven studies with 263 patients with FD and 84 controls were identified. The odds for SIBO in patients with FD were significantly higher as compared to that in controls (odds ratio = 4.3, 95% CI, 1.1-17.5, 4 studies, 234 participants); however, there was moderate heterogeneity in this analysis. Including high-quality, case-control studies (all using glucose breath tests [GBTs]), the risk of SIBO in patients with FD as compared to controls was 2.8 higher (95% CI 0.8-10.0, 3 studies, 200 participants) with minimal heterogeneity in this analysis. Using the lactulose breath test, SIBO prevalence in FD was significantly higher (53.4%, 95% CI 33.9-71.9, 3 studies, 110 participants) as compared to that with GBT (17.2%, 95% CI 8.6-31.6, 4 studies, 153 participants). Substantial heterogeneity was found in studies using the lactulose breath test but not in studies using GBT. There was no significant difference in SIBO prevalence in patients with FD according to FD subtype.

Discussion: This meta-analysis suggests a link between FD and SIBO. The quality of evidence is low and can be largely attributed to the type of breath test for SIBO diagnosis and clinical heterogeneity. More appropriately designed studies are required to confirm the link between SIBO and FD.

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List of abbreviations

DGEM German Society for Nutritional Medicine (German Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährungsmedizin)
GESKES  Swiss Society for Clinical Nutrition (German Gesellschaft für klinische Ernährung der Schweiz) 
ESPEN European Society of Clinicl Nutrition and Metabolism