H. pylori produces an enzyme called urease, which breaks urea down into ammonia and carbon dioxide. During the test, a tablet containing urea (a chemical made of nitrogen and a minimally radioactive carbon) is swallowed and the amount of exhaled carbon dioxide is measured. This indicates the presence of H. pylori in the stomach.
Take only the medications approved by your doctor the day of the procedure. Take them only with a small sip of water if it is within four hours of the procedure. Do not discontinue any medication without first consulting with your primary or referring doctor.
Do not eat or drink anything (including water) for four hours before the procedure.
What Happens During the Urea Breath Test?
During the urea breath test:
A health care provider will explain the procedure, which lasts about 40 to 60 minutes, and answer any questions you may have.
Breath samples will be taken.
What Happens After the Urea Breath Test?
After the urea breath test:
Your breath samples are sent to a lab where they are tested.
You may resume your normal activities.
You may resume your normal diet, unless you are scheduled for other tests that require dietary restrictions.
When Will I Find Out the Results of the Urea Breath Test?
Urea breath test results are usually available two days after the test is completed.