Microbiology Test

Helicobacter pylori Test

Dr. Simi Paknikar
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Simi Paknikar, MD
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Test : Helicobacter pylori Test

Indications : The H.pylori test is ordered for following reasons:

If you currently have a stomach / duodenal ulcer /dyspepsia
If you had stomach / duodenal ulcer in the past and it has remained untested
If you have a condition called gastric MALT lymphoma
Analysis after treatment for H.pylori.

There are several methods to test for H pylori infection.

1. Breath Test

This test is also known as the Carbon Isotope-urea Breath Test (UBT).You are required to stop taking antibiotics and bismuth medicines two weeks prior to the test.

The test is initiated by making you swallow a urea- containing substance. If pylori is present in your gut, the urea you have ingested is broken down into carbon -di -oxide which can be detected in your breath approximately 10 minutes after ingestion.

This is an efficient test to detect the presence of H.pylori. The test is also employed to evaluate anti- pylori treatment.

2. Blood Tests

Blood tests can be carried out to detect the presence of antibodies that may be raised against H.pylori. It does not help much in identifying current H.pylori infections as the test would be positive months after the infection is cured.

3. Stool Test

A stool test is a culture that is done using a stool sample to detect the presence of H.pylori. The test is useful is confirming a present infection.

4. Biopsy

A biopsy tissue sample from the stomach lining is procured through endoscopy. This sample is then processed and examined under the microscope. A biopsy is an accurate procedure to detect H.pylori. It is usually done as a part of a diagnostic procedure for inflammations, ulcers and cancer and is carried out in hospitals.

Physiology : H.pylori is a gram-negative, micro aerophilic bacteria that cause chronic gastritis, or inflammation of the stomach and duodenal ulcers. Of late, it has also been linked to gastric cancers. However, in majority of people H.pylori is present without causing symptoms or complications.

The H.pylori test is mostly done to detect the presence of Helicobacter pylori in a person with symptoms of chronic gastritis.

Normal Range : Negative for urease activity, negative culture, biopsy negative for gastritis and negative for H. pylori.

Interpretation : Normal

No sign of an H pylori infection.

Abnormal

The presence of H.pylori can be detected when any of the above tests are done. This will have to be followed up with appropriate treatment with antibiotics.

Sample : Gastric mucosal biopsy

References : +



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