Diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori infection: noninvasive methods compared to invasive methods and evaluation of two new tests

Am J Gastroenterol. 2001 Feb;96(2):353-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2001.03518.x.


Objectives: Current guidelines recommending Helicobacter pylori eradication treatment without performing endoscopy in certain patients highlight the importance of noninvasive tests. Our aim was to determine the accuracy of two new tests: the antigen stool test and Helicoblot 2.1 (an immunoblot used on serum) as well as the 13C urea breath test and ELISA serology in comparison to invasive tests for the pretreatment diagnosis of H. pylori infection.

Methods: Helicobacter pylori infection was diagnosed prospectively in 104 untreated patients using eight different tests. Invasive tests included culture, urease test (CLOtest), histology, and PCR; noninvasive tests included the 13C urea breath test, IgG serology (Pyloriset EIA-G), immunoblot (Helicoblot 2.1), and antigen stool detection (Premier Platinum HpSA). A predefined gold standard based on biopsy tests was used to define H. pylori status, as well as an empirical approach.

Results: There was no statistically significant difference between the different tests. The sensitivity of the noninvasive tests ranged between 88.9% and 95.6% (stool test: 88.9%, 95% CI: 82.7-95.1, and Helicoblot 2.1: 95.6%, 95% CI: 91.5-99.6) and the specificity ranged between 92.6 and 98.1% (stool test: 94.4%, 95% CI: 84.6-98.8, and Helicoblot 2.1: 92.6%, 95% CI: 91.5-96.2) when a predefined gold standard was used.

Conclusions: Most tests had sensitivities, specificities, and predictive values >90%. The noninvasive tests are accurate for the diagnosis of H. pylori infection. Helicoblot 2.1 performed as well as the best ELISA kit. The HpSA is a promising direct noninvasive test that can be applied easily to evaluate H. pylori status.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Breath Tests
  • Dyspepsia / microbiology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Helicobacter Infections / diagnosis*
  • Helicobacter pylori* / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity