Background: The 13C-urea breath (13C-UBT) test value is (semi-)quantitatively related to Helicobacter pylori density in the gastric antrum, and the value correlates with the grade of gastritis. The aim of this study was to assess variation of the 13C-urea breath test value by sociodemographic factors in H. pylori-positive children.
Methods: The analysis was performed on 127 asymptomatic children (aged 5-7 years) who were identified as H. pylori-positive with the 13C-UBT test in a large population-based epidemiologic study in the city of Ulm (southern Germany). The parents of the children were asked to fill out a standardized questionnaire about sociodemographic data.
Results: Forty-two infected children (33.1%) were of German nationality, 47 children (37.0%) were of Turkish and 38 children (29.9%) were of another nationality. Turkish children had a significantly higher 13C-UBT value (geometric mean = 27.2%) than German children (16.7%) or children with another nationality (19.3%) (P < 0.001). Girls had a trend towards higher values than boys (P = 0.058 after adjustment for nationality). Body mass index, education of the parents, and prior use of antibiotics were unrelated to the extent of the 13C-UBT.
Conclusions: This study identified significant variation in the extent of the 13C value by nationality among H. pylori-infected children. Further studies are needed to elucidate the causes and potential consequences of these variations.