Non-Invasive Diagnosis of H. Pylori Infection
Since Barry Marshall described the Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) and its role in different gastrointestinal diseases, an intense research effort has developed diff erent 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 13C. HeliprobeTM uses the isotope 14C which has very low beta-radioactive emission. The radioactive dose used for a HeliprobeTM test is 1 micro curie, which is significantly less than the radioactive dose given at a normal X-Ray examination of the stomach.