August 2013
New Breath Test to Detect Ulcers

Bridgeport Hospital now offers a simple, 20-minute, noninvasive breath test to detect Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria, which are responsible for most ulcers and stomach inflammation. A baseline sample is collected by having the patient breathe into an inflatable collection bag. The patient then swallows a small amount of solution containing urea, which helps detect the bacteria. After 15 minutes, the patient breathes into a second inflatable collection bag. Both bags are then processed. If H. pylori are present, the urea is converted by the bacteria, which is detected in the patient’s exhaled breath.

The test can identify nearly all patients with H. pylori or confirm that an H. pylori infection was fully treated. Before introducing the breath test, the hospital used blood tests, stool tests and/or biopsies of the stomach lining to diagnose the causes of ulcers and stomach inflammation. Unlike other tests requiring several days to analyze, the breath test provides results in minutes, allowing treatment to begin immediately.

For more information, call Caroline Loeser, MD, Section Chief of Gastroenterology, at 203-384-3175.