Helicobacter pylori Urea Breath Test (INFAI): Procedure


Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacterium that infects the stomach lining, often leading to gastritis, ulcers, and in some cases, gastric cancer. Detecting this infection accurately and promptly is crucial for effective treatment. Among the several diagnostic methods available, the Helicobacter pylori Urea Breath Test, particularly the INFAI version, is noted for its accuracy and simplicity.

What is the INFAI Urea Breath Test?

The INFAI Urea Breath Test is a non-invasive diagnostic procedure used to detect active H. pylori infection. It is based on the ability of H. pylori to produce an enzyme called urease, which breaks down urea into ammonia and carbon dioxide. The test uses a urea compound labeled with a non-radioactive isotope of carbon (carbon-13 or carbon-14). When H. pylori is present, the urease enzyme breaks down the labeled urea, and the resulting carbon dioxide, now containing the carbon isotope, is exhaled and can be detected.

Procedure of the INFAI Urea Breath Test

  1. Preparation:
    • Patients are advised to fast, not to drink liquids, not to brush teeth and not to smoke for at least 6 hours before the test to ensure that the stomach contents do not interfere with the results.
    • It is important to avoid certain medications such as antibiotics and proton pump inhibitors for 4-6 weeks before the test, as these can affect the accuracy.
  2. Administration:
    • The patient ingests a liquid containing the isotopically labeled urea plus 200 mL natural orange juice (not carbonated fruit drinks).
    • After ingestion, the patient should not eat or drink anything for 30 minutes, allowing time for the urea to interact with any potential H. pylori in the stomach.
  3. Sample Collection:
    • The patient is asked to exhale into a collection device before ingestion (baseline sample) and again 30 minutes after ingestion.
    • This breath is then analyzed using a mass spectrometer or infrared spectrometer to detect the presence of the isotopic carbon dioxide.
  4. Interpretation:
    • A significant increase in the isotope-labeled carbon dioxide between the baseline and the post-ingestion samples indicates an active H. pylori infection.
    • Results are typically available shortly after the test and provide a clear indication of the presence of the bacteria.

Benefits of the INFAI Urea Breath Test

  • Accuracy: The test offers high sensitivity and specificity, reducing the likelihood of false positives or negatives.
  • Non-invasiveness: Unlike biopsies, this breath test is non-invasive and does not require an endoscopic procedure, making it suitable for patients who prefer a less invasive diagnostic method.
  • Convenience: The test is quick and the results are obtained rapidly, allowing for timely decision-making in terms of treatment options.

How to schedule an appointment for INFAI Urea Breath Test

For individuals experiencing symptoms of a gastric ulcer or other related gastrointestinal symptoms, it is recommended to consider the INFAI Urea Breath Test for H. pylori. Early detection and treatment of H. pylori can significantly improve treatment outcomes and prevent more serious conditions.

For further details or to schedule a test, potential patients should consult with healthcare professionals, such as Dr. Christos Zavos, gastroenterologist and hepatologist based in Thessaloniki, Greece. To inquire about the INFAI Urea Breath Test or any concerns regarding gastrointestinal health, contact Dr. Zavos through the contact form on peptiko.gr, call (+30)-6976596988 or (+30)-2311283833, or email at czavos@ymail.com.

Last update: 16 April 2024, 09:24


Gastroenterologist - Hepatologist, Thessaloniki

PhD at Medical School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

PGDip at Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht, The Netherlands

Ex President, Hellenic H. pylori & Microbiota Study Group