Breath tests are the most accurate way of detecting H.pylori without actually having an endoscopy (stomach examination). Breath tests are especially useful after treatment to make sure H.pylori is cured. Urea breath tests are known to be completely harmless. Either C14-urea or C13-urea tests are used. Read about them at the diagnosis section at http://www.helico.com/diag_breath.html
where a diagram can be found. C14-urea breath tests use a radioactive tracer but such a tiny amount that it can be used safely at any age. It is a 15 minute test, convenient and inexpensive. The C13-urea test uses a stable isotope of carbon which is also harmless but requires two breath samples and takes about 30 minutes. Both tests have accuracy greater than 90%.
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it is the same for everybody.
the dose of C14 is so low, it's almost equivalent to 2 hrs standing under the sun. Because it's so safe. it's being approved by FDA for pregnant women and children.
Have a read from Prof Marshall's early article about C14 dosage.
The effective dose equivalent (global mean) to an average person from natural sources was recently reported by UNSCEAR to be 2.4 mSv/yr. Approximately 800 C14-urea "microdose" breath tests (37 kBq per tests) would generate the same effective dose equivalent.
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I'd like know know how to get the breath test done in England. No one seems to know what it is here. It's not done on NHS and I'm willing to pay for it. Help !