Limitations to carbon 13-labeled urea breath testing for Helicobacter pylori in infants

J Pediatr. 2001 Nov;139(5):734-7. doi: 10.1067/mpd.2001.118398.


We determined the validity of the carbon 13-labeled urea breath test in young children. We found that although the 13C-labeled urea breath test had a specificity greater than 90%, borderline or false positive results occurred more frequently in children younger than 2 years compared with older children. False positive results may be caused by oral-urease-producing organisms because direct intragastric administration of 13C urea reduced the excess delta 13CO2. Care is urged in interpreting one positive 13C-labeled urea breath test in children younger than 2 years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Breath Tests
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Helicobacter Infections / diagnosis*
  • Helicobacter pylori*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Carbon Isotopes