Urea Breath Test (UBT)
What is the urea breath test?
The urea breath test (UBT) is a test for diagnosing the presence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori or HP) infection in the stomach. HP causes inflammation, ulcers, and atrophy of the stomach. The test also may be used to check that H. Pylori has been eliminated by treatment with antibiotics.
How does one prepare for the urea breath test? How is it performed?
Your doctor or other healthcare professional will provide you with instructions on how to prepare for the urea breath test.
During the test you will swallow a capsule containing urea, which is made up of an isotope of carbon (Isotopes of carbon occur in minuscule amounts in nature, and can be measured with special testing machines). If H. Pylori is present in the stomach, the urea is converted into carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is absorbed across the lining of the stomach and then into the blood stream. It then travels through the blood stream to the lungs where it is excreted in the breath. Samples of exhaled breath are collected, and checked for signs of H. Pylori by measuring the isotopic carbon in carbon dioxide.
How does the urea breath test diagnose a H. Pylori infection?
The urea breath test utilizes H. Pylori’s ability to convert urea, a chemical made up of nitrogen and carbon into carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is then absorbed into the blood stream and exhaled through the breath. (Urea is normally produced by the body from excess nitrogen-containing chemicals and then eliminated in the urine.)
How are the results of the urea breath test interpreted?
If the urea breath test is positive and the isotope is detected in the breath, it means that H. Pylori is present in the stomach. If the isotope is not found in the breath, the test results are negative for the infection.
When the H. Pylori is effectively treated (eradicated) by antibiotics, the test changes from positive (isotope present) to negative (isotope absent).
Are there any side effects, risks, or complications of the urea breath test?
There are no side effects, risks, or complications of the urea breath test. You do not need to stop taking medications, including proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), prior to having the procedure performed by a doctor. However it is advisable not to do the test during pregnancy. Also it is suggested to refrain from getting pregnant for 3-6 months if you decide to take this test considering the slight radiation effect.
400CNY Test Fee + 500CNY Consultation Fee