Instructions on how to use the Helicobacter test Helicobacter Test INFAI®
Patient informationHelicobacter Test INFAI® is a simple test that your doctor can prescribe to find out if you have a stomach infection that can cause digestive disorders and ulcers. The test has no unpleasant side effects and is complete in as little as 45 minutes. This type of test is called a breath test. This means that your doctor takes breath samples instead of a urine or blood sample. The patient must not consume anything but water for six hours before the test. The test may give inaccurate or false results if the patient has previously taken antibiotics or certain medications to relieve stomach discomfort.
Sampling of the basal value t0The test begins with breath sampling of the basal values. The patient breathes through a straw into two test tubes with white stoppers.
Intake of ¹³C-ureaAfter taking 200 ml of orange juice to delay gastric emptying, 75 mg of ¹³C-urea powder is dissolved in 30 ml of water and drunk.
Sampling of the 30-minute value t30Half an hour after taking the test solution, additional breath samples are dispensed into the blue stoppered sample containers. Barcode labels are used for secure identification. INFAI or other qualified laboratories analyze the breath samples and report whether Helicobacter pylori infection is present.
The test principle of the breath test
In the presence of Helicobacter pylori, ¹³C-labeled urea is hydrolyzed to ammonia and ¹³C-enriched carbon dioxide. The latter can be detected in the breath.
Analysis of the breath samples
The analysis is performed by means of an isotope ratio mass spectrometer. The European Union has set minimum specifications to ensure the quality of the analysis, as the evaluation is an important part of the test.
Until some time ago, physicians assumed that no germs can survive for a long time in an acidic stomach. In 1983 it was shown that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori not only survives in the stomach, but is even almost always present in patients with stomach ulcers. If you are infected, you have probably swallowed some of these bacteria during your lifetime, as symptoms often do not appear until much later. It may be the very mechanism that allows the bacteria to survive in the stomach that causes dyspepsia and possibly ulcers. The same survival mechanism allows us to detect the bacterium using the breath test. Helicobacter is one of the few bacteria that can rapidly break down urea, a substance normally found in large amounts in the stomach. In the INFAI breath test, the patient drinks a small amount of urea labeled with a non-radioactive (and therefore harmless) isotope. The carbon dioxide produced by the breakdown of urea is thereby also labeled, and can be easily detected in the breath with a mass spectrometer. If very little labeled carbon dioxide shows up in your breath, the test is negative and there is no infection with Helicobacter.