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Am J Gastroenterol. 1999 Jul;94(7):1830-3.

Evaluation of a new enzyme immunoassay for detecting Helicobacter pylori in feces: a prospective pilot study.

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Medical Department, S. Anna Hospital, Ferrara, Italy.



There is an increasing interest in noninvasive tests for detecting Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection. Unlike serological and urea breath tests, the possibility of searching for H. pylori in feces has been scarcely investigated. The aim of this prospective pilot study was to evaluate the usefulness of a new enzyme immunoassay for detecting H. pylori antigens in feces, as a predictor of H. pylori status in the pre- and posttreatment settings.


One hundred and fifty-four symptomatic, anti-H. pylori untreated patients (Group A) and 116 anti-H. pylori treated patients (Group B) underwent gastroscopy with biopsies of the antrum and corpus for histology (H) and rapid urease test (RUT). In the anti-H. pylori treated group, a 13C-urea breath test (UBT) was also performed. In Group A, H. pylori status was defined as positive or negative when both H and RUT gave concordant positive or negative results. In Group B, the patients were considered eradicated if all three tests were negative. A stool specimen was collected from all patients the day after gastroscopy, and tested by using an enzyme immunoassay commercial kit for detecting H. pylori antigens in feces (HpSAT).


Eighty-five patients in Group A (55%) and 44 in Group B (38%) were H. pylori infected. On the whole, HpSAT showed a sensitivity of 94% and specificity of 86%. In Group A and Group B, sensitivity and specificity were 94% versus 93%, and 90% versus 82%, respectively (p < 0.05).


HpSAT seems to be a reliable method for predicting H. pylori status in anti-H. pylori untreated patients. Conversely, the test appears less suitable to evaluate the outcome of the eradicating treatment. Consequently, it is likely to be accepted for the primary diagnosis of H. pylori status, particularly in dyspeptic young patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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