Preparing For Your Helicobacter Pylori Breath Testing Procedure
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) Breath Testing monitors the activity of urease, an enzyme produced by the H. pylori bacterium that may be present in the mucosal lining of your stomach.
This test is used as part of the initial diagnosis of H. pylori infection, as well as to monitor the success of H. pylori eradication therapy.
Breath testing for H. pylori is quick, safe and simple. The 15-minute test is performed and processed on site at Moonee Valley Specialist Centre.
Before the test:
- Prescribed antibiotics, bismuth-containing compounds, proton pump inhibitors, H2 receptor antagonists and over-the-counter antacids interfere with the breath test result. Stop taking these medications 4 – 5 hours before your breath test. You may need to talk to Dr. Connelly about the medications you take before this test. Moonee Valley.
- Specialist Centre will advise you how long prior to testing that you may need to cease taking your medication and if it’s safe to do so.
- H. pylori Breath Testing may not be suitable for pregnant women, so please advise Moonee Valley Specialist Centre if you are, or may be pregnant.
- You must take the test on an empty stomach, so you must not eat any food or drink for a minimum of 4 hours before your procedure.
For the test, you’ll swallow a capsule containing radiolabelled urea with some water. Urea is a natural and harmless substance, which is metabolised by the H. pylori urease enzyme to produce radiolabelled carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is absorbed into your blood stream then exhaled in your breath if you’re infected.
The radiolabelled urea is critical for detecting the test result. It provides an acceptable diagnostic level of low radioactivity, equivalent to about half a day’s normal exposure to the natural environmental radioactivity of sunlight or drinking a glass of orange juice.
After 10 minutes, your doctor or nurse will ask you to simply blow repeatedly into a special ‘breath card’ for 3 – 4 minutes. This card has an opening at one end and a special material inside to capture any molecules of radiolabelled carbon dioxide in your breath.
Next, your doctor or nurse will place your breath card in a small detector apparatus and, in less than 5 minutes, your test results will be available.
H. pylori breath test results are accurate and a good way to ensure your infection has been successfully treated.
Your Moonee Valley Specialist Centre doctor or nurse will discuss your test result with you on the day. You may be prescribed a combination of antibiotics and other medications to eradicate the H. pylori bacteria and reduce your pain and ulceration.
TWO WEEKS BEFORE YOUR TEST
NO oral and intravenous antibiotics can be taken, however topical treatments are OK.
NO colonoscopy or enema procedures.
24 HOURS BEFORE YOUR TEST
Restrict dairy products, however lactose-free, soy, rice, nut milk products are OK.
Restrict canned and dried fruits, fruit juices, soft drinks and honey.
Restrict high-fibre foods, particularly oats, beans and corn.
NO fibre supplements or laxatives.
We recommend a rice-based meal with meat or vegetables as your evening meal before your test. Other foods and medications can be taken as usual.
FAST FROM 9PM THE NIGHT BEFORE YOUR TEST
You must take the test on an empty stomach, so you must not consume any food or drinks for at least 12 hours before your test. You may drink plain water only.
ON THE MORNING OF THE TEST
Do NOT smoke. Keep fasting and do not do any exercise 1 hour prior to your test. Please refrain from bringing visitors to the clinic. Seating is restricted to patients only, with the exception of parents and carers.