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Urea Breath Test for Helicobacter pylori

Source Breath
Mnemonic UBT
Specimen Requirements

H. pylori Stool Antigen Test (M HP) is the recommended screening assay to diagnose H. pylori infection. UBT is only available through a GI Specialist or with approval from a Clinical Biochemist or the Microbiologist on call.

Calgary collections:
Available at all Patient Service Centre sites on an appointment only basis.
Test cannot be collected at acute care sites (hospitals) or by Mobile Collection Service (MCS).
If a patient arrives at an outpatient lab with a request for UBT, collect H. pylori Stool Antigen Test.

Calgary rural collections:
Available at all rural hospital laboratories on an appointment only basis.
For appointment contact information, refer to the reverse side of the Rural Laboratory Requisition or www.calgarylabservices.com / Patient & Visitor Guide / Laboratory Locations & Hours / Calgary Rural Lab Locations & Hours.

CLS staff: Refer to PX-SC760 Urea Breath Test for collection instructions.

Test takes about 1 hour to complete. Patient MUST be fasting - nothing to eat, chew, or drink (including water) - for at least 4 hours before the test, and continue to fast during the 30 minute wait period. Brushing of the teeth is permitted at any time prior to testing. Minimal ingestion of tooth paste or water during brushing and rinsing of the mouth is acceptable.

Specimen Handling
Additional Information

Patient Instruction Sheet Form # CH3067

The following groups of medications should not be used prior to the test:
 Proton pump inhibitors (H+, K+ - ATPase Inhibitor) - 3 days
 (e.g. Losec, Prevacid, Pantoloc, Nexium, Pariet)
 Histamine H2 Receptor Antagonists - 1 day (e.g. Tagamet, 
 Zantac, Pepcid, Axid, Pylorid, Cimetidine)
 Antacids - 1 day (e.g. Tums, Rolaids, etc.)
 Antibiotics - 4 weeks
 Bismuth preparations - 2 weeks (e.g. Pepto-Bismol)

It is recommended that the patient avoid smoking from the beginning of the 4 hour fast until completion of the test.

The Urea Breath Test should be scheduled prior to barium tests if both are scheduled for the same day. No other breath tests should be scheduled at the same time. If particulate matter is visible in the reconstituted 13C-urea solution after thorough mixing, the solution should not be consumed.

Note: Test is not recommended for patients less than 6 years of age.
          An alternate test (H. pylori Stool Antigen) is available for this age group.

Additional information:

The drink provided for this test has no added gluten, lactose or glucose, and includes the following ingredients:

  • 13C Urea (safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women)
  • Orange flavouring
  • Sodium citrate 
  • Citric acid   
  • Mannitol    
Testing Location Chemistry-DSC
Testing Frequency Weekdays
Alternate Name(s) Helicobacter pylori Breath Test
Reference Interval