Disaccharidases

Also known as: disaccharidase analysis, disaccharidase biopsy.

What is disaccharidases?

Disaccharidases are enzymes (lactase, maltase and sucrase) in the small bowel that break down complex sugars (like lactose, maltose and sucrose) into simple sugars (like glucose) for digestion. A deficiency of one or more of these enzymes results in poor absorption of the corresponding sugar resulting in a wide range of gastrointestinal (bowel) symptoms. Disaccharidase deficiency may be congenital (from before birth) or acquired.

While there are a number of laboratory options available to diagnose disaccharidase deficiency, the “gold standard” is examination of a tissue samples obtained from the small bowel.


What happens during the procedure?

Typically, your child’s pediatric gastroenterologist will perform an endoscopy. He/she will be placed under anesthesia (type depends on a number of factors), and a thin, flexible tube known as an endoscope will be passed through the mouth to the closest portion of the small bowel where bowel wall tissue will be obtained. A number of laboratory tests on this tissue will lead to the diagnosis.


Is any special preparation needed?

Patients may need to avoid food, drink and certain medications for a period of time before the test.


What are the risk factors?

Complications are rare, however complications from anesthesia, bleeding from the bowel, infection, bowel perforation and damage to surrounding organs and tissues are potential risks.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 9/6/2018 6:52:46 PM

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