Helicobacter pylori Tests
How It Is Done
Blood antibody test
The health professional taking a sample of your blood
- Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to stop the flow of
blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is easier to put a
needle into the vein.
- Clean the needle site with
- Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick
may be needed.
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with
- Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is
- Put a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as
the needle is removed.
- Put pressure on the site and then put on a
Urea breath test
The breath sample is collected when you blow into a balloon or
blow bubbles into a bottle of liquid. The health professional taking a sample
of your breath will:
- Collect a sample of your breath before the
- Give you a capsule or some water to swallow that
contains tagged or radioactive material.
- Collect samples of your
breath at different times. The breath samples will be tested to see if
they contain material formed when H. pylori comes into
contact with the radioactive material.
- The urea breath test
usually takes about 30 minutes.
Stool antigen test
The stool sample for this test may be collected at home. If you
are in the hospital, a health professional will help you collect the
To collect the sample, you need to:
- Pass stool into a dry container. Either solid
or liquid stools can be collected. Be careful not to get urine or toilet tissue
in with the stool sample.
- Replace the container cap and label the
container with your name, your doctor's name, and the date the sample was
- Wash your hands well after collecting the sample to
avoid spreading bacteria.
- Deliver the sealed container as soon as
possible to your doctor's office or directly to the lab.
Your doctor may also use a cotton swab inserted into your rectum
to collect a stool sample during an exam.
- Endoscopy is used to collect samples of
tissue from the stomach and duodenum. The doctor may collect up to ten tissue
samples. For more information, see the medical test
Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.
tissue samples are tested in the lab to see if they contain H. pylori.
- In rare cases, a biopsy sample may be placed in a
container that promotes the growth of H. pylori
bacteria. This is called an H. pylori culture. If
bacteria grow in the culture, tests (called
susceptibility or sensitivity testing) can determine
which antibiotic to use to treat the infection.
How It Feels
Blood antibody test