The breath test is a diagnostic tool specific for the detection of infection due to the presence of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which is generally associated with gastritis and gastric ulcers.
The tests is a non-invasive procedure that analyzes the air in the patient’s breath after ingesting a pill of urea chemically labeled with carbon-14. The patient must be fasting and should interrupt the use of medications as are proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), antacids, or any type of antibiotics, for at least 7 days prior to the test. Additionally, the study must take place at least 30 days after the antibiotic treatment to eliminate the bacteria has been completed.
Once the patient has ingested the pill, ten minutes are allowed to pass before the patient is asked to exhale multiple times into a plastic envelope over the course of several minutes. The envelope is then analyzed by a computer to detect a substance produced specifically by the bacterium.
The sensibility and specificity attained by the breath test in detecting the bacterium is between 90-98%, making it one of the most reliable tests for the detection of H. Pylori.
The Third Mexican Consensus of Helicobatcer Pylori recommends the use of this test as the most reliable for purposes of confirming the eradication of the bacterium after antibiotic treat-ment.
Eradication of the bacterium will be confirmed with every patient that is treated with anti-biotics.