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Helicobacter pylori is a spiral-shaped gram-negative bacterium that may cause chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, or gastric neoplasia. In adults of industrialized countries, an estimated 0.5% of the susceptible population becomes infected each year, although the incidence has been decreasing over time. The organism may asymptomatically colonize humans. In suspected Helicobacter pylori-associated disease, the noninvasive stool antigen or urea breath test is recommended. If patients fail to respond to treatment and antimicrobial resistance is suspected, a gastric biopsy, gastric brushings, or gastric aspirate may be cultured to attempt to recover the organism for antimicrobial susceptibility testing to assess for resistance.
Recovery of Helicobacter pylori from gastric specimens for antimicrobial susceptibility testing of the organism
A positive result provides definitive evidence of the presence of Helicobacter pylori.
Organisms may be detected in asymptomatic (colonized) individuals.
False-negative culture results may occur since the organism may die between biopsy collection and laboratory culture.
Culture-negative results may occur due to the fastidious nature of the organism. Delays in specimen transportation will decrease recovery of the organism. Culture should be set up as soon as possible following specimen collection. Antimicrobial therapy may render the culture negative.
Due to Helicobacter pylori's fastidious nature and slow growth, it may take 7 days to recover the organism and up to an additional 21 days to perform antimicrobial susceptibility testing when requested.
No growth after 7 days
Theel ES: Helicobacter pylori Infection: Test Utilization Strategies for Diagnosis. Mayo Medical Laboratories Communique 2013;38(6):1-8