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Breath tests?

Breath tests are the most accurate way of detecting H.pylori without actually having an endoscopy (stomach examination). Breath tests are especially useful after treatment to make sure H.pylori is cured. Urea breath tests are known to be completely harmless. Either C14-urea or C13-urea tests are used. Read about them at the diagnosis section at http://www.helico.com/diag_breath.html where a diagram can be found. C14-urea breath tests use a radioactive tracer but such a tiny amount that it can be used safely at any age. It is a 15 minute test, convenient and inexpensive. The C13-urea test uses a stable isotope of carbon which is also harmless but requires two breath samples and takes about 30 minutes. Both tests have accuracy greater than 90%.

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infowarrior
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:24 pm

Breath tests?

Post by infowarrior »

Hi,
I've heard a few times that most doctors don't use the breath test as a diagnostic tool for diagnosing H. Pylori because the breath tests cost too much. I've seen lots of test kits on amazon, ebay etc for £10-£20. My question is are these tests that people can buy online for quite cheap the same tests as certain doctors use for diagnosing H. Pylori or are they totally different and inferior?

Thanks.

Helico_expert
Site Admin
Posts: 3641
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:20 am

Re: Breath tests?

Post by Helico_expert »

Because breath test involve a device to measure the C13/C14, breath test kit is normally expensive. The test kit you saw online is probably serology test. Serology test is usually very sensitive, but it cannot tell you your current infection. Because once you were infected with H. pylori, you'll have the antibody in your blood stream for months or years.

Therefore, among the non invasive tests, only breath or stool test can tell if you are currently infected with H. pylori.

If you are in a country where H. pylori prevalence is low, the doctors usually will not recommend breath test. However, if you are serology positive, then your doctor can offer a breath test to double confirm.

infowarrior
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:24 pm

Re: Breath tests?

Post by infowarrior »

Ok thanks for the reply. Even knowing I've had H pylori in the past might be good to know so are these cheap tests pretty accurate for doing that?

Helico_expert
Site Admin
Posts: 3641
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:20 am

Re: Breath tests?

Post by Helico_expert »

I think unproven kits will be hard to estimate the accuracy. Although they are using the same principle, but because of the QC of the manufacturing process, it's hard to predict the accuracy.

I would say, big brand companies would want to protect their reputation and follow standard procedure in maintaining high level of quality.

small companies would want to competitive in cost and most likely lacking in QC.

also, many test kits rely on the experienced person in operating in getting reliable result. home test kits are usually only for reference.

nikolay
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:47 pm

Re: Breath tests?

Post by nikolay »

From my experience with a lot of tests and results I would say this:

- you can try these home tests but don't believe in them too much (either positive or negative), you still have to check with proper lab, so probably it's worthless to buy them. I've done home stool and blood tests just for fun. :)
- go for breath test first if possible but do it properly (stop PPI for 2 weeks, etc)., if breath not available: stool test in good lab
- if they are negative and you still have the symptoms - confirm the negative results with another lab (either breath or stool)
- serology (blood) test have limited use in practice and if you go for them use ELISA type, there are some in house capillary bood test which only show positive or negative. my first test was like that in the doctor's office and it was negative but 3 months later breath test shows positive. However blood test can show experience doctor some hint (if he knows how to interpret it), but I would suggest always to confirm it with breath or stool test.

Also if you do endoscopy make sure before it the the doctor that he do fast urease test and samples for histology and culture. Culturing hpylori is not possible everywhere but check it before with the doctor.

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