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Dig Dis Sci. 2000 Nov;45(11):2168-74.

Isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) versus laser-assisted ratio analyzer (LARA): a comparative study using two doses of.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Medicina Interna E Specialit√† Mediche, Universit√† di Genova, Italy.


This study was carried out to compare the measurements and the diagnostic accuracy of the traditional expensive IRMS and the new economical LARA system using two doses of [13C]urea + two different test meals in patients undergoing upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, both before and after anti-Helicobacter treatment. A total of 354 dyspeptic patients underwent endoscopy with gastric biopsies to diagnose H. pylori infection by CLO-test and histology. No patients had taken antibiotics, bismuth, or antisecretory drugs in the 4 weeks before testing. After overnight fasting, breath samples were collected simultaneously in both plastic and glass tubes at baseline and at 30 and 60 min after urea ingestion. In 237 patients 100 mg [13C]urea + Ensure and in 117 patients 75 mg [13C]urea + citric acid were given. The test was also performed with the two urea dosages and meals in 67 and 64 infected patients, respectively, four weeks after anti-Helicobacter therapy. H. pylori was considered eradicated when both biopsy-based tests were negative. A delta value >5 per thousand was considered positive. Breath samples with insufficient CO2 levels at both 30 and 60 min were excluded from final analysis (N = 37 in pre- and N = 8 in posttreatment). There was excellent agreement between overall delta values of the two machines with both [13C]urea 100 mg + Ensure and [13C]urea 75 mg + citric acid. The 95% CI of the difference against the mean was wider with the former (mean -1.3, +6.3, and -9.4) than with the latter urea dosage and test meal (mean -1.2, +5.2 and -8.1). LARA and IRMS were equally effective (P = NS) in distinguishing infected from uninfected patients before therapy using both doses of [13C]urea and test meals (sensitivity ranged from 95% to 99% and specificity from 95% to 97%). This good performance was maintained in the posttreatment phase (sensitivity ranged from 90% to 100% and specificity from 90% to 97%), without any statistical difference among the various combinations (P = NS). The LARA system is a valid alternative to IRMS in the diagnosis of H. pylori infection. Both machines provide highly reliable results after 30 min, so that the 60 min sample can be avoided. The dose of 75 mg + citric acid suffices to ensure an accurate UBT. The test performed with both devices and [13C]urea dosages is very effective also for posttherapy evaluation of H. pylori status.

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