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Helicobacter Pylori C13 Urea Breath Test

What is the Helicobacter Pylori (H Pylori) Urea Breath Test?

This test is used for detecting the presence of bacterium called H pylori within the lining of the stomach, which is a cause of chronic gastritis and strongly associated with peptic ulcer disease and some gastric
cancers. Eradication of H pylori significantly reduces duodenal and gastric ulcer relapse.

Who should be considered for this test?

People who have suspected duodenal or peptic ulcer disease both before and following treatment and people who have non-ulcer dyspepsia with severe symptoms.

Do I need to do anything special prior to the test?

You will need to stop taking the following medications:

4 weeks prior to the test:

• All antibiotic therapy

• Bismuth (e.g. Denol)

2 weeks prior to the test:

• Proton pump inhibitors (e.g. Losec, Zoton and Somac) unless specifically requested to continue by your doctor

72 hours prior to the test:

• H2 receptor antagonists (e.g. Zantac, Ranitidine and Tagamet)

You will be required to fill out a questionnaire on the day of the test, so please come prepared with the names of the medications you are currently taking.

On the day of the test:
• You must fast for at least six hours before the test (no food or drink although sip some water if required)

• You must refrain from smoking for two hours before and during the test.

What does the test involve?

You will be asked to exhale (breathe out) through a straw into two tubes and then asked to drink a small amount of water to take a C13 urea tablet.

• After 10 minutes, you will be asked to repeat the exhaling procedure into two other tubes.

• The overall procedure takes 20 minutes. You may eat, drink and take regular medication after completing the test.

When will the result be available?

Your doctor will receive a copy of the results from Australian Clinical labs two days after the test is performed.


It is not expected that performing the breath test during pregnancy and lactation would have an adverse effect.

C13 is a naturally occurring carbon isotope (it is not radioactive). It is not expected that performing the breath test during childhood would have an adverse effect.

Brushing teeth:
You may brush your teeth on the day of the test – taking care not to swallow the toothpaste.

Unable to swallow tablets:
The urea tablet should be swallowed whole with a glass of water. If you are unable to swallow tablets, please discuss alternative tests with your doctor.

Other questions?
Australian Clinical Labs collection or laboratory staff will be able to assist if you have any other questions.

How do I make an appointment?

An appointment is necessary and can be made by contacting the Australian Clinical Labs near you. Please inform the collection Centre staff of the medications you are taking. If you have any questions or require further information, please contact our Customer Service Centre on 1300 453 688.