To detect H. pylori, Use the stool antigen or breath tests instead of serology.Created by:
Helicobacter pylori is a spiral-shaped bacterium that infects well over 30% of the world’s population. In some countries it infects more than 50% of the population. This is, therefore, one of the most common bacterial infections known to mankind.
Serologic evaluation of patients to determine the presence/absence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection is no longer considered clinically useful and they do not discriminate between current infection and recent exposure. However serial serology from antibody concentrations can be used as follow up post treatment of Helicobacter infection.
Alternative noninvasive testing methods (e.g., the urea breath test and stool antigen test) exist for detecting the presence of the bacteria and have demonstrated higher clinical utility, sensitivity, and specificity.
Urea Breath Tests Breath testing provides a rapid, non-invasive way of detecting the presence of active infection and is often used to check whether eradication has been successful. This test uses a sample of exhaled breath to determine infection. The principle of this exam relies on the ability of the bacteria to convert a compound called urea to carbon dioxide. When a specially labelled urea is ingested, the exhaled breath can be tested for labelled carbon dioxide. These tests are very accurate and easy to perform
Additionally, both the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Gastroenterology Association recommend either the breath or stool antigen tests as the preferred testing modalities for active H. pylori infection.
Finally, several laboratories have dropped the serological test from their menus, and many insurance providers are no longer reimbursing patients for serologic testing.