Jun 28, 2017




Clinical Hub,Tools & Resources,UWHC Lab Test Directory,Microbiology

Helicobacter pylori Urea Breath Test

Helicobacter pylori Urea Breath Test (HCHPYBT) Microbiology Lab Test

Name: Helicobacter pylori Urea Breath Test

Test Name: Helicobacter pylori Urea Breath Test

Health Link Test Code: HCHPYBT

LIS Test Code: HPYBT

CPT Code(s): 83013, 83014

Methodology: Infrared Spectrometry

Clinical Information:

A non-invasive, non-radioactive method for detecting current H. pylori infection. Test is not acceptable for patients under the age of 18 yr. For patients under the age of 18, see H. pylori Ag, stool.

Days Performed: Mon-Fri, dayshift.

In-Lab Turnaround Time: 1 - 3 days.

Stat In-Lab Turnaround Time: Not available stat.

Patient Preparation:

See Health Facts for You, "Urea Breath Test Instructions".

Collection Container: Breath-Tek BASELINE bag (blue) / POST-DOSE Pranactin®-Citric Solution bag (pink)

Collection Instructions:

Samples will be collected in the UWHC Outpatient lab, UHS lab, West Lab, East Lab, DHC Lab and Ustation Lab. For inpatients, call the UWHC Outpatient lab at (608)263-6033 to schedule the collection with a phlebotomist. A baseline breath sample is collected and then a post-dose breath sample is collected 15 minutes after ingestion of Pranactin®-Citric Solution.  


Collection instructions are available from the laboratory. Contact phlebotomy at (608)263-6033.

Stability Ambient:

7 days

Stability Refridgerated:

Not acceptable

Stability Frozen:

Not acceptable

Sample Analyzed: See collection instructions.

Specimen Transport:

Transport specimen to the laboratory. Do not refrigerate or freeze the bags.

Unacceptable Criteria:

Bags that are not fully inflated are not acceptable. If only one of the two bags is submitted the sample is not acceptable.  Bags that are not capped are not acceptable.


Test is not acceptable for patients under the age of 18 yr. For patients under the age of 18 the H. pylori stool antigen is recommended.


18 years and up: Negative

Interpretation Type: Expected Results

Test Limitations:

A set of pre/post-dose breath bags will be accepted once every 5 days.


The performance characteristics for patients under the age of 18 have not been established for this test.


Patient must be off these drug(s) for at least 2 weeks prior to testing: 


Other known causes of false negative results include administration of the breath test less than 4 weeks after completion of therapy to eradicate H. pylori and premature or late collection of the post-dose sample.


Test can be performed if patient is on proton pump inhibitors.  If a patient is on proton pump inhibitors, a positive test can be considered positive; however, a negative test should be repeated after patient has been off proton pump inhibitors for 2 weeks.


H2 blockers may reduce urease activity on the urea breath test and may be discontinued for 24-48 hours before testing.


Known causes of false positive results include patients with achlorhydria, the presence of other gastric spiral organisms such as Helicobacter heilmanii, and rinsing the Pranactin®-Citric Solution in the mouth which allows contact of the solution with other urease positive bacteria.

Additional Information:

The H. pylori breath test is considered the gold standard for the diagnosis of H. pylori infection.


Unlike serology, the breath test is positive only with active infection and can also be used to monitor response to therapy. A negative result does not rule out the possibility of H. pylori infection.


If clinical signs are suggestive of H. pylori infection, retest with a new sample or alternate method.