A rapid-release 50-mg tablet-based 13C-urea breath test for the diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori infection


Correspondence to: Dr B. C. Y. Wong, Department of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China. E-mail: bcywong@hku.hk


Background : Recently, a rapid-release 100-mg 13C-urea tablet with citrate supplement (Diabact UBT) showed excellent performance in a European population.

Aim : To investigate the accuracy of a 50-mg tablet-based 13C-urea breath test protocol.

Methods : Consecutive dyspeptic patients referred for upper endoscopy were recruited. 13C-Urea breath test was performed using a 50-mg 13C-urea tablet (Diabact UBT) and compared with the gold standard (rapid urease test and histology). Baseline, 10-min, 20-min and 30-min breath samples were collected in all cases. The cut-off values at each measurement interval were determined by three standard deviations above the mean excess δ13CO2 excretion of Helicobacter pylori-negative patients.

Results : Two hundred patients (150 before therapy and 50 after therapy) were available for analysis, with a mean age of 48.4 years, and 99 patients (50%) were H. pylori positive. The sensitivity and specificity of the 50-mg tablet-based 13C-urea breath test at 10 min, 20 min and 30 min were 100% and 98%, 100% and 100%, and 100% and 98%, respectively.

Conclusion : A 20-min, 50-mg tablet-based 13C-urea breath test (Diabact UBT) protocol is highly accurate for the diagnosis of H. pylori infection.