How do urea breath tests detect H pylori infection?

Updated: Apr 26, 2021
  • Author: BS Anand, MD; Chief Editor: Philip O Katz, MD, FACP, FACG  more...
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Answer

Urea breath tests detect active H pylori infection by testing for the enzymatic activity of bacterial urease. In the presence of urease produced by H pylori, labeled carbon dioxide (heavy isotope, carbon-13, or radioactive isotope, carbon-14) is produced in the stomach, absorbed into the bloodstream, diffused into the lungs, and exhaled.


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