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Helicobacter pylori: Overview and Considerations for Diagnostic Testing

Urea Breath Test Limitations

Slide 15

August 2010

The urea breath test is very sensitive and specific; both exceeding 95%. Although the patient is ingesting radioactive carbon, the exposure is quite low, equal to the daily background dose. Nonetheless, the urea breath test is not FDA approved for use in children under the age of 8.

Like the CLO test, the sensitivity of the urea breath test can be affected by proton pump inhibitors, antibiotics, or bismuth. Thus, it is of limited utility if the patient is currently under treatment for Helicobacter pylori infection.

The urea breath test is expensive. As it is based on measurement of radioactivity, it does require specialized equipment for measurement of the carbon dioxide analyte and infrastructure to manage radioactive materials. Additionally, the performance characteristics of this test have not been established for children <18 years old. Other testing alternatives may be more suitable for this patient population.

Urea Breath Test Limitations


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