Results from the urea breath test or a stool
antigen test are usually available within a few
hours. Results from a blood
antibody test are usually available within 24 hours.
Results from biopsy samples obtained by
endoscopy are usually available within 48 hours.
Results from a biopsy sample that is cultured can take up to 10 days.
Blood antibody test
The blood sample does not contain H. pylori antibodies.
The blood sample contains H. pylori
Urea breath test
The breath sample does not contain the tagged
The breath sample contains the tagged
Stool antigen test
The stool sample does not contain H. pylori antigens.
H. pylori bacteria does not grow in
a culture of the tissue biopsy samples.
The biopsy sample contains H. pylori
H. pylori bacteria grows in a
culture of the tissue biopsy samples.
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may
not be helpful include the following:
Most urea breath tests now use tagged carbon rather than radioactive carbon. If you are pregnant, the radioactive
urea breath test for H. pylori
is not usually done, because
the radiation could harm your child.
antibiotics may affect the results of the urea breath
test, the stool antigen test, and stomach
biopsy by reducing the number of H. pylori bacteria in the stomach and
The use of cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid), lansoprazole
(Prevacid), nizatidine (Axid), omeprazole
(Prilosec), rabeprazole (Aciphex), ranitidine (Zantac), sucralfate (Carafate), or medicines containing bismuth (such as Pepto-Bismol)
can also interfere with the results of the urea breath test, the stool antigen test, and stomach
A stomach biopsy may not detect an H. pylori infection that is present if the biopsy samples are taken from
areas that are not infected by the H. pylori
Rough handling, contamination, or inadequate
refrigeration of the blood sample can cause inaccurate blood antibody test
When a blood antibody test is done early in an
H. pylori infection, the results may be
falsely negative because the level of antibodies is
too low to measure.
The likelihood of infection with
H. pylori increases with age. Older adults are more
likely to have detectable amounts of the bacteria in their body.