Diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori infection

Benjamin C Y Wong, Eilene Kwok and S K Lam.

Department of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong


A number of non-invasive and invasive tests are available for the diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori infection. These can be used to establish the initial diagnosis or to confirm the eradication of the bacteria after medical treatment and subsequent monitoring for re-infection or recrudescence. Non-invasive tests include antibody detection testing which use serum, whole blood or saliva to provide a rapid diagnosis but in general is less favorable in sensitivity and specificity. l3C- or l4C-urea breath test is non-invasive and is one of the most accurate tests available. Invasive tests rely on endoscopic biopsies of the gastric mucosa. Biopsy samples can be used in rapid urease test, histology examination, culture with sensitivity testing and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. Choice of different tests depends on clinical setting, availability and technical support.

Key words: Diagnosis. Helicobacter pylori. Tests

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