Open Access Research article

Applicability of a short/rapid 13C-urea breath test for Helicobacter pylori: retrospective multicenter chart review study

Hemda Schmilovitz-Weiss1*, Vered Sehayek-Shabat1, Rami Eliakim2, Eitan Skapa3, Yona Avni4 and Haim Shirin3

Author Affiliations

1 Gastroenterology Unit, Hasharon Hospital, Rabin Medical Center, Petach Tikva, Tel-Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

2 Department of Gastroenterology, Rambam Medical Center, Technion, Haifa, Israel

3 Gastroenterology Unit, Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Tel-Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

4 Gastroenterology Unit, Wolfson Medical Center, Holon, Tel-Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

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BMC Gastroenterology 2012, 12:8  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-12-8

Published: 19 January 2012



Carbon labeled urea breath tests usually entail a two point sampling with a 20 to 30-minute gap. Our aim was to evaluate the duration of time needed for diagnosing Helicobacter pylori by the BreathID® System.


This is a retrospective multicenter chart review study. Test location, date, delta over baseline, and duration of the entire test were recorded. Consecutively 13C urea breath tests results were extracted from the files over a nine year period.


Of the 12,791 tests results, 35.1% were positively diagnosed and only 0.1% were inconclusive. A statistically significant difference in prevalence among the countries was found: Germany showing the lowest, 13.3%, and Israel the highest, 44.1%. Significant differences were found in time to diagnosis: a positive diagnosis had the shortest and an inconclusive result had the longest. Overall test duration averaged 15.1 minutes in Germany versus approximately 13 minutes in other countries. Diagnosis was achieved after approximately 9 minutes in Israel, Italy and Switzerland, but after 10 on average in the others. The mean delta over baseline value for a negative diagnosis was 1.03 ± 0.86, (range, 0.9 - 5), versus 20.2 ± 18.9, (range, 5.1 - 159.4) for a positive one.


The BreathID® System used in diagnosing Helicobacter pylori can safely shorten test duration on average of 10-13 minutes without any loss of sensitivity or specificity and with no test lasting more than 21 minutes.

BreathID®; breath test; Helicobacter pylori; test duration