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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2000 Jun;12(6):629-33.

Comparison of tests for assessment of Helicobacter pylori eradication: results of a multi-centre study using centralized facility testing.

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Laboratoire de Bactériologie, Hôpital Pellegrin, Bordeaux, France.



The accuracy of diagnostic tests to assess Helicobacter pylori eradication has rarely been performed.


To compare the tests most commonly used for this purpose, i.e. histology, culture and (13)C urea breath test performed in centralized facilities.


Prospective study where patients were included in four centres and diagnostic tests performed centrally by biologists experienced in the field. Gastric biopsies were obtained from antrum and corpus (two for histology, two for culture from each site) 4-6 weeks after an eradication treatment. The definition of a gold standard for H. pylori-positive patients was either a positive culture or both positive histology and urea breath test results.


Ninety-seven patients for whom data on histology, culture and (13)C urea breath test were available were included. The majority were females (60%) suffering from non-ulcer dyspepsia (52%) and having received proton-pump inhibitor-based triple therapy (62%). Forty-one per cent of the patients were H. pylori-positive according to the gold standard. The sensitivities were 90%, 95% and 92.5% and the specificities 100%, 98.2% and 100% for culture, histology and (13)C urea breath test, respectively.


All the methods had excellent specificity but the sensitivity ranged between 90 and 95%. The combination of two techniques which increases the sensitivity to virtually 100% is recommended in situations where the eradication treatment requires a precise evaluation such as in clinical trials.

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