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May 2014
Breath test offered to detect ulcers

Bridgeport Hospital offers a simple, 20-minute, noninvasive breath test to detect Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria, which is responsible for most ulcers, gastric cancer and stomach inflammation. The test can identify nearly all patients with H. pylori or confirm an H. pylori infection was fully treated. It is highly sensitive and specific for the bacteria. Options such as the stool antigen test require refrigeration. The serology test is no longer recommended.

Any physician can order the breath test to evaluate symptoms such as epigastric pain, bloating, frequent burping, nausea/vomiting and iron deficiency anemia. In fact, in some patient populations, checking for H. pylori infection should be performed before trying acid suppression.

Patients diagnosed with H. pylori should be treated and eradication tested in four weeks after completing therapy. In addition to Bridgeport Hospital, lab locations for testing include Bridgeport, Fairfield, Huntington/Shelton, Stratford and Trumbull, as well as gastroenterology offices and primary care and GI clinics. For more information, call Caroline Loeser, MD, section chief of Gastroenterology, at (203) 384- 3775 or Patti Clark, laboratory manager, at (203) 384-3886.

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