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Congenital sucrase-isomaltase deficiency: an under-diagnosed disease in Chinese children

Lanlan Geng1*, Ding-You Li2*, Wenji Ou1, Qunying Yang1, Tiefu Fang1, Peiyu Chen1, Min Yang1 and Sitang Gong1

Author Affiliations

1 Guangzhou Women and Children’s Medical Center, Guangzhou Medical College, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China

2 Division of Gastroenterology, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

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BMC Pediatrics 2014, 14:11  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-14-11

Published: 16 January 2014



Congenital sucrase-isomaltase deficiency (CSID) is a rare genetic disorder. The prevalence of CSID in Chinese population is unknown and no single case has been reported.


Sucrose tolerance tests were performed in three children suspected of CSID. Glucose tolerance tests were performed to exclude glucose malabsorption. Blood glucose was measured at fasting and at 30 min, 60 min, 120 min, and 180 min of the study. Gastrointestinal symptoms were recorded up to 4 hours after the study.


From December 2008 to June 2011, three children, ranging from 16 to 19 months old, were referred to our tertiary children’s hospital due to chronic watery diarrhea and failure to thrive. Laboratory investigations including complete blood counts, ESR, CRP, and serum immunoglobulins were normal. Routine stool culture for bacteria and exam for parasites were negative. Upper endoscopy, colonoscopy and histology were unremarkable. All children failed lactose-free and amino acid-based formulas. All three children had flat sucrose tolerance tests and began to have watery stool 2–4 hours after feeding sucrose test solution. The glucose tolerance tests were normal and no children developed watery stools up to 4 hours after feeding glucose test solution.


This is the first case series of CSID in Chinese children. The diagnosis of CSID can be made based on clinical suspicion and sucrose tolerance test. CSID is probably an under-diagnosed or misdiagnosed disease in Chinese children and should be considered in children with chronic watery diarrhea.

Sucrase-isomaltase deficiency; Chinese children; Sucrose tolerance test