While most people who are suspected of having an ulcer will still need an endoscopy
to confirm the diagnosis, and exclude more serious problems, breath testing is
particularly useful for those who are not fit for this procedure, or for those people
who may have had previous treatment for H. pylori. The breath test can confirm its
elimination, or re-appearance.
The person undergoing the test just has to swallow a capsule containing a tiny
amount of a radioactive substance with some water, and about 10 minutes later,
blow into a balloon. The balloon is then sealed and its contents later tested in the
laboratory. If H. pylori is present in the stomach, certain changes would have
happened to the contents of the capsule which can be identified from the breath
sample. The amount of radioactivity in the capsule used for this test is extremely
low; being about the same as the amount each one of us is exposed to naturally
in 12 hours of everyday life.
Before Taking the Test
In order for the test to work properly, it is important that you remember:
Not to eat or drink anything except plain water one hour before the test.
Get advice from your doctor about stopping the use of the following medications two weeks before the test: antibiotics of any kind, proton-pump inhibitors. Your doctor may wish to discuss alternative medications that you may use before taking the test.
Get advice from your doctor about being re-tested four weeks after completing therapy
to determine its success.
|© Mr. Ian Michell- Laparoscopic General Surgeon