The standard Bentiromide test and a new modified test using p-aminosalicylic acid (PAS) as a pharmacokinetic marker for p-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) have been evaluated in the detection of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency in children. The conventional two day test using a colorimetric assay for urinary PABA discriminated poorly between five children with pancreatic insufficiency and 13 others with normal pancreatic function. Two further groups of patients, comprising 28 with pancreatic exocrine insufficiency and 20 with normal pancreatic function underwent the modified test, and urine samples were analysed by high performance liquid chromatography. The results showed a complete separation between groups. The use of PAS eliminates a number of sources of error inherent in a two day Bentiromide test and provides a simplified and accurate diagnostic test for pancreatic insufficiency. The PABA-PAS modified test enables collection of the urine to be done during a single six hour period.
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