Background: Non-ulcer dyspepsia (NUD) accounts for the majority of dyspeptic patients and studies on the epidemiology of Helicobacter pylori infection in NUD depend on a non-invasive and rapid diagnostic test. This study was performed to determine the sensitivity and specificity of a 15-min simplified protocol of the [13C]-urea breath test ([13C]-UBT) for the diagnosis of H. pylori infection in patients with NUD.
Methods: One hundred and thirty-six patients with a clinical and endoscopic diagnosis of NUD were included. The [13C]-UBT was modified from the European standard protocol. The baseline breath sample was collected 5 min after the patient took a test meal and the 13CO2 was collected 15 min after the patient drank 100 mg [13C]-urea. The gold standard used for comparison was either a positive culture or positive histology + positive rapid urease test sampled on upper gastrointestinal endoscopy.
Results: The prevalence of H. pylori infection in NUD by the gold standard was 59.6%, whereas that calculated by the [13C]-UBT was 60.3%. The sensitivity and specificity of [13C]-UBT was 93.8 and 89.1% compared with the gold standard. The shortened collection time and simplification of the procedure may have led to a decline in specificity.
Conclusion: The 15-min [13C]-UBT is a rapid but less specific protocol for detecting the presence of H. pylori infection in patients with NUD.
© 2000 Blackwell Science Asia Pty Ltd