Acta Medica International

: 2014  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 53-

Non-invasive diagnosis of H. Pylori infection

TJ Hemnani 
 Principal, TMMC & RC, TMU, Moradabad, India

Correspondence Address:
T J Hemnani
Principal, TMMC & RC, TMU, Moradabad

How to cite this article:
Hemnani T J. Non-invasive diagnosis of H. Pylori infection.Acta Med Int 2014;1:53-53

How to cite this URL:
Hemnani T J. Non-invasive diagnosis of H. Pylori infection. Acta Med Int [serial online] 2014 [cited 2022 Aug 16 ];1:53-53
Available from:

Full Text


Since Barry Marshall described the Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) and its role in different gastrointestinal diseases, an intense research effort has developed different diagnostic methods. The only non-invasive test method that can be clinically used as a diagnostic tool for ongoing infection with H.pylori and post-eradication follow-up is the “Urea Breath Test.” With the Heliprobe TM′a cost-effective test is available. The Urea Breath Test (UBT) is based on the fact that the H.pylori produces an enzyme, Urease, which catalyses the hydrolysis of the urea molecule into ammonium and carbon dioxide. H.pylori requires the alkaline ammonium in order to establish an optimal local mucosal environment within the acidic environment of the stomach. The urea compound is an endogenous substance that contains one carbon atom, normally 12C, which can be replaced by its isotope 14C or 13 C. Heliprobe™ uses the isotope 14C which has very low beta-radioactive emission. The radioactive dose used for a Heliprobe™ test is 1 micro curie, which is significantly less than the radioactive dose given at a normal X-Ray examination of the stomach.

Patient is called in the morning after overnight fasting. A Helicap (1microcurie capsule of C14-urea) is ingested with 50 ml of water. If an infection with H.pylori is present in the stomach, the “living” bacteria produces the enzyme “urease” that metabolizes the 14C-urea into ammonium and carbon dioxide containing the 14C-labelled atoms. The carbon dioxide will be assimilated through the mucosa into the blood stream and transported to the lungs where it is exhaled. By collecting the exhaled carbon dioxide in the Breath Card™, the amount of 14CO2 produced in the stomach can be measured with the Heliprobe™ instrument. If the patient is not infected, no metabolization of urea will occur, and no 14CO2 can be detected with the Heliprobe™ system. In this case, the un-metabolized 14C urea will pass along the digestive canal to be excreted in the urine. If the Heliprobe™ system detects 14CO2, this is diagnostic evidence of an ongoing infection with living H.pylori. Heliprobe™ is developed for primary diagnosis of H.pylori, as well for follow-up after eradication treatment. This test has 95% sensitivity, 100% specificity & 98.4% accuracy. The anti-secretory drugs if taken by the patients should be stopped 1 week prior to test. H.pylori has etiological role in ulcer (gastric & duodenal) and non-ulcer dyspepsia, gastric cancer, unexplained iron deficiency anaemia, and recurrent pain in theabdomen in children. H.pylori also has etiological role in migraine, rheumatoid arthritis, weight & height restriction in children, skin disorders-acne, urticaria, psoriasis and lichen planus, cardiovascular disorders, neurodegenerative disorders-parkinsonism & gynaecological disorders-infertility, hyperemesis gravidarum & IUGR and other gastrointestinal disorders- gall stones, cholangiocarcinoma, cirrhosis & colorectal carcinoma.

Triple drug H. pylori eradication therapy is advised in positive cases, but we give lactulose which causes lactic acidosis after digestion by colonic bacteria. Lactic acid is secreted by stomach mucosa which burstthecloud of ammonia around H. pylori, thus exposing the bacteria to strong acid. To make acid strong, antisecretory drugs should be stopped 1 week prior to lactulose therapy.


1Suggested Reading
2Malfertheiner P, Michetti P, Price A: Helicobacter pylori – An Atlas. United Kingdom Science Press Ltd, 1996,
3Ayyagiri A, Ray P, Kochhar R, Bhasin D, Siddeshi ER, Singh K, Malik AK and Mehta SK. Evaluation of different methods for detection of Helicobacter pylori in patients with gastric disease. Indian J Med Res.1990;91126-128.
4Hegedus O, Rydeen J, Rehnberg AS, Nilsson S, Hellstrom PM Validated accuracy of a novel urea breath test for rapid Helicobacter pylori detection and in-office analysis. European journal of gastroenterology & hepatology 2002; 14:1-8.
5Malfertheiner P, Megraud F, O’Morain C, Bazzoli F, El-Omar E. The European Helicobacter Study Group (EHSG) Current concepts in the management of Helicobacter pylori infection the Maastricht III Consensus Report. Gut 2007; 56772-781.