(C13) urea breath test
In the majority of cases, the (C13) urea breath test is used to confirm the presence of Helicobacter pylori in the stomach (an infection that causes inflammation and ulcers). The test is performed after a period of fasting (usually overnight), and involves the patient drinking 75 mg of 13C urea dissolved in orange or grapefruit juice. A small glass tube is used to collect breath samples immediately prior to ingestion of the juice and 30 minutes afterwards. These samples are later analyzed in a laboratory. The patient’s breath sample is analyzed for presence of 13C in the exhaled CO2. Presence of 13C can be taken as a clear indicator of H. pylori infection.
Other substances containing 13C (e.g. octanoic acid) can be used to measure gastric emptying and pancreatic function. Although these tests are more complex in execution and more time-consuming, we will be happy to offer them as an option should the need arise.