Urea breath testing and analysis in the primary care office

J Fam Pract. 2002 Dec;51(12):1030-2.


The 13C-urea breath test provides accurate, noninvasive diagnosis of active Helicobacter pylori infection and can document posttherapy cure. This study evaluated point-of-care testing with onsite sample analysis with the use of a desktop infrared spectrophotometer. Ambulatory patients (N=320) underwent 13C-urea breath testing, and breath samples were analyzed immediately by clinic staff with no prior breath testing experience. Duplicate samples were sent to a reference laboratory, and the results of both methods were compared. Point-of-care testing was simple, with an overall agreement of 99.1%. Accurate near-patient 13C-urea breath testing is now practical in the primary care setting even when done by inexperienced personnel.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breath Tests* / methods*
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Helicobacter Infections / diagnosis*
  • Helicobacter pylori*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Office Visits
  • Point-of-Care Systems*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Spectrophotometry, Infrared
  • Urea*


  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Urea