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Braz J Med Biol Res. 1999 Dec;32(12):1493-7.

Application of isotope-selective non-dispersive infrared spectrometry for the evaluation of the 13C-urea breath test: comparison with three concordant methods.

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Serviço de Gastroenterologia, Nutrição, Cirurgia Geral e do Aparelho Digestivo (GEN-CAD), Hospital das Clínicas, Universidade Federal de Minas, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brasil.


The aim of this work was to compare the performance of isotope-selective non-dispersive infrared spectrometry (IRIS) for the 13C-urea breath test with the combination of the 14C-urea breath test (14C-UBT), urease test and histologic examination for the diagnosis of H. pylori (HP) infection. Fifty-three duodenal ulcer patients were studied. All patients were submitted to gastroscopy to detect HP by the urease test, histologic examination and 14C-UBT. To be included in the study the results of the 3 tests had to be concordant. Within one month after admission to the study the patients were submitted to IRIS with breath samples collected before and 30 min after the ingestion of 75 mg 13C-urea dissolved in 200 ml of orange juice. The samples were mailed and analyzed 11.5 (4-21) days after collection. Data were analyzed statistically by the chi-square and Mann-Whitney test and by the Spearman correlation coefficient. Twenty-six patients were HP positive and 27 negative. There was 100% agreement between the IRIS results and the HP status determined by the other three methods. Using a cutoff value of delta-over-baseline (DOB) above 4.0 the IRIS showed a mean value of 19.38 (minimum = 4.2, maximum = 41.3, SD = 10.9) for HP-positive patients and a mean value of 0.88 (minimum = 0.10, maximum = 2.5, SD = 0.71) for negative patients. Using a cutoff value corresponding to 0.800% CO2/weight (kg), the 14C-UBT showed a mean value of 2.78 (minimum = 0.89, maximum = 5.22, SD = 1.18) in HP-positive patients. HP-negative patients showed a mean value of 0.37 (minimum = 0.13, maximum = 0.77, SD = 0.17). IRIS is a low-cost, easy to manage, highly sensitive and specific test for H. pylori detection. Storing and mailing the samples did not interfere with the performance of the test.

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