Which lab studies are used in the diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) infection?

Updated: Jul 21, 2021
  • Author: Luigi Santacroce, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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In patients with suspected /H pylori/ infection, the following laboratory studies may aid in the diagnosis:

  • H pylori fecal antigen test: Very specific (98%) and sensitive (94%); positive results obtained in the initial stages of infection; can be used to detect posttreatment eradication

  • Carbon-13 urea breath test: Concentration of the labeled carbon is high in breath only when urease is present in the stomach, a reaction possible only with H pylori infection

  • H pylori serology: High (>90%) specificity and sensitivity; useful for detecting a newly infected patient but not a good test for follow-up of treated patients

  • Antibiogram: Useful in geographic areas with a high resistance rate against metronidazole and clarithromycin [3, 4] ; these antibiotics should not be recommended as first-line drugs in such areas

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