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Helicobacter pylori: Overview and Considerations for Diagnostic Testing

Urea Breath Test

Slide 14

August 2010

The Urea Breath test takes advantage of the strong urease activity expressed by Helicobacter pylori.

In this test, the patient will ingest carbon 13- or carbon 14-labeled urea either via capsule or a flavored liquid. The labeled urea then diffuses thru the mucosal gel layer of the gastric epithelia in which the Helicobacter reside. The Helicobacter pylori splits the ingested urea into ammonia and labeled carbon dioxide via their urease activity.

Carbon dioxide is then exhaled. A sample of exhaled breath is collected and measured in a scintillation counter or infrared spectrophotometer in order to measure the amount of labeled carbon dioxide. This is an indirect measure of urease activity and subsequent presence of Helicobacter pylori.

Urea Breath Test


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