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Melissa Dooley qualified as a Clinical Measurement Scientist in 2008 obtaining a first class honors Degree. She commenced employment as a Gastrointestinal Physiologist in St James’s Hospital, Dublin and began a two-year specialized Physiology course through De Montfort University, Leicester. In 2016 Melissa graduated with a Master of Philosophy from the Dublin Institute of Technology for her research on Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth in Post Esophagectomy and Gastrectomy Patients. Melissa is a fully accredited Physiologist and is a member of both the Irish Institute of Clinical Measurement Scientists and the British Society of Gastroenterology. Protocols established during her research have been implemented in St. James’s Hospital to improve patient services and better practices. Melissa was awarded the RES MED/PEI award in 2008 by the Dublin Institute of Technology for her outstanding academic achievements.
A review of 87 patients who underwent a glucose hydrogen breath test (HBT) for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, following a gastrectomy or esophagectomy, was carried out in the GI Function Unit, St. James’s Hospital, Dublin. Exclusion criteria included complicated major upper GI surgery and surgery performed for nonmalignant diagnoses. Statistical analysis was performed to evaluate the association of specific factors and the development of SIBO. Hydrogen breath tests were carried out using the Gastro+ Gastrolyzer (Bedfont Scientific Ltd, UK). The overall rate of positive HBT’s post-surgery was 53%. There was no significant difference in positive HBT results according to surgery type. A subgroup of 18 patients treated with rifaximin had follow up assessment post-surgery. Significant improvements were reported in flatulence, borborygmic, and foul-smelling stool. Overall impact of GI symptoms on quality of life was significantly reduced (median score 5.39 vs 3.78, P <0.001). In our clinic, HBT is the method employed to evaluate patients with potential SIBO owing to the procedures simplicity, safety, and lack of invasiveness.