Gastritis diagnostic test

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Aravind Reddy Kothagadi M.B.B.S[2]


The non-endoscopic diagnostic testing methods for gastritis associated with H. pylori include antibody tests, urea breath test, and fecal antigen test.

Non-endoscopic diagnostic studies

The non-endoscopic diagnostic testing methods for H. pylori include:

  • The UBT and fecal antigen tests provide reliable means of identifying active H. pylori infection before antibiotic therapy.
  • The UBT is the most reliable non endoscopic test to document eradication of H. pylori infection.
  • The monoclonal fecal antigen test provides another non-endoscopic means of establishing H. pylori cure after antibiotic treatment.
  • Testing to prove H. pylori eradication appears to be most accurate if performed at least 4 wk after the completion of antibiotic therapy.

Antibody tests

Urea Breath Test (UBT)

  • The urea labeled with either the nonradioactive isotope 13C or the radioactive isotope 14C is ingested.
  • The H. pylori urease converts labeled urea to CO2, which can be quantitated in expired breath.

Fecal Antigen Test (FAT)

Nonendoscopic testing Advantages Disadvantages
1. ELISA serology

(quantitative and qualitative)

  • PPV dependent upon background H. pylori prevalence.
  • Not recommended after H. pylori therapy
  • Less accurate and does not identify infection
2. Urea breath tests (13C and 14C)
  • Reimbursement and availability remain inconsistent
3. Fecal antigen test
  • Polyclonal test less well validated than the UBT in the post-treatment setting
  • The monoclonal test appears reliable before and after antibiotic therapy
  • Unpleasantness associated with collecting stool


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