Risk Factors Associated with Upper Aerodigestive Tract or Coliform Bacterial Overgrowth of the Small Intestine in Symptomatic Patients

Matthew Bohm, Andrea Shin, Sean Teagarden, Huiping Xu, Anita Gupta, Robert Siwiec, David Nelson, John Wo

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Introduction: The clinical relevance of bacterial types identified in small bowel aspirate cultures during diagnostic evaluation of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is unclear. Aim: The main purpose of this study was to assess associations between risk factors for upper aerodigestive tract (UAT) or coliform SIBO and SIBO diagnosis by culture. Materials and Methods: Small bowel aspirates were cultured in patients with suspected SIBO, defined as ≥104 colony-forming units/mL coliform or ≥105 colony-forming units/mL UAT bacteria. History was reviewed for risk factors and potential SIBO complications. Symptoms, quality of life, psychological traits, and laboratory values were assessed. We compared groups by 2-sample t test, Wilcoxon rank sum test, and the Fisher exact test. Overall associations of primary and secondary endpoints with type of bacterial overgrowth were assessed by analysis of variance F-test, Kruskal-Wallis test, and the Fisher exact tests. Associations of risk factors with type of overgrowth were explored using multinomial logistic regression. Results: Among 76 patients, 37 had SIBO (68% coliform, 33% UAT) and 39 did not. Conditions (P=0.02) and surgery (P<0.01) associated with decreased gastric acid were associated with SIBO. In multinomial logistic regression, conditions of decreased acid was associated with UAT SIBO [odds ratio (OR), 5.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.4-33.3]. Surgery causing decreased acid was associated with UAT [OR, 9.5 (1.4-106)] and coliform SIBO [OR, 8.4 (1.6-86.4)]. Three patients with discontinuous small bowel had coliform SIBO [OR, 17.4 (1.2-2515)]. There were no differences in complications, overall symptoms, quality of life, or psychological traits. Conclusions: Conditions or surgeries associated with decreased gastric acid are associated with SIBO diagnosis by culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Clinical Gastroenterology
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • bacterial overgrowth
  • coliform
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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