Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Tests and procedures used to determine whether you have an H. pylori infection include:

  • Blood test. Analysis of a blood sample may reveal evidence of an active or previous H. pylori infection in your body. A blood sample is usually collected by pricking your finger.
  • Breath test. During a breath test, you swallow a pill, liquid or pudding that contains radioactive carbon molecules. If you have an H. pylori infection, the radioactive carbon is released when the solution is broken down in your stomach. Your body absorbs the radioactive carbon and expels it when you exhale. You exhale into a bag and your doctor uses a special device to detect the radioactive carbon.
  • Stool test. A laboratory test called a stool antigen test looks for foreign proteins (antigens) associated with H. pylori infection in your stool.
  • Scope test. During an endoscopy exam, your doctor threads a long flexible tube equipped with a tiny camera (endoscope) down your throat and esophagus and into your stomach and duodenum. Using this instrument, your doctor can view any irregularities in your upper digestive tract and remove tissue samples (biopsy). These samples are analyzed for H. pylori infection.
May. 24, 2011