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Breath Tests

Urea Breath Test UBT

The urea breath test (UBT) is a procedure for diagnosing the presence of a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) that causes inflammation, ulcers, and atrophy of the stomach.

Helicobacter Pylori in the stomach produces urease. The urea breath test is based on the ability of H. pylori to break down urea, a chemical made up of nitrogen and carbon. The urea normally is produced by the body from excess ("waste") nitrogen and then eliminated in the urine.

The test also may be used to demonstrate that H. pylori has been eliminated by treatment with antibiotics.

The person undergoing the test has to swallow a non-radioactive urea solution and, 30 minutes later a breath sample is collected in some sealed test tubes. The breath in the test tubes is later tested in the laboratory. . If H. pylori is present in the stomach, the urea is broken up into nitrogen and carbon (as carbon dioxide). The carbon dioxide is absorbed across the lining of the stomach and into the blood. It then is excreted from the lungs in the breath.

The breath test becomes negative when H.Pylori has been eradicated.

The test will take a little over a half and hour.

Before Taking the Test

In order for the test to work properly, it is important that you remember:

  • Nothing to eat or drink for 3 hours before the test.
  • Any form of antibiotic have to be ceased at least 4 weeks ago. Proton pump inhibitors such as Nexium, Pariet, Losec and Somac to be ceased at least 1 week prior to the test.
  • Ask your doctor's advice about being re-tested four weeks after completing therapy to determine its success.

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