This is a non-invasive, simple yet reliable test, enabling indirect detection of Helicobacter pylori from metabolic products contained in exhaled air. The test lasts 30 minutes and involves exhaling in several lab collection tubes through a straw.
Helicobacter pylori infection is very common. In most cases it causes no symptoms or complications. However, H. Pylori is the commonest cause of gastric and duodenal ulcer, can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies (iron, B12), and may cause gastric cancer or lymphoma in a small percentage of patients.
HOW TO PREPARE
This is a highly reliable test, provided you observe closely the following instructions:
- 4 weeks before the test: stop all antibiotics. If it is medically necessary to take antibiotics, then the date of the test is postponed for 4 weeks after completing your antibiotic regimen
- 3 weeks before the test: stop all acid-suppressing medications such as Losec (omeprazole), Nexium (esomeprazole), Pariet (rabeprazole), Laprazol (lansoprazole), Zurcazol (pantoprazole), Zantac (Randitidine), Peptan (Famotidine)
- 6-8 hours before the test: No smoking, nothing by mouth, postpone any medications after the test (for an afternoon appointment you may have sips of water until 2 hours before the test)
- Before leaving home: make sure you bring the test kit already prescribed by your doctor, as well as 200mL of natural orange juice with no extra sugar
- For mild dyspepsia or heartburn you may use antacids (maalox, simeco) until the previous day of the test
- If severe or frequent symptoms prevent you from stopping acid suppressors, then the breath test is not indicated for you. You may discuss alternative diagnostic tests with your doctor
AFTER THE TEST
You may eat, have your medications and continue your normal activities. Test results will be available in 3 days and will be discussed in detail with your doctor.