Helicobacter breath test
The infection of the mucosal lining of the stomach with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori is regarded as the most frequent bacterial infection worldwide. In our part of the world, approx. 20 % of the patients under the age of 40 are affected, in the age group 60 years and up, it is even every other person.
The transmission of the virus by means of saliva (mouth to mouth) is likely. The sanitary conditions in our childhood and the socio-economic status play a role. Ultimately, the transmission mode has not yet been reliably resolved. However, the infection takes place primarily during childhood. The infection with helicobacter pylori leads to a chronic infection of the stomach. Up to 90 % of all acute and chronic infections of the mucosal lining of the stomach are caused by Helicobacter pylori. If untreated, the bacterium leads to a lifelong infection of the entire mucosal lining of the stomach. It causes chronic gastritis, stomach ulcers, duodenal ulcers and stomach cancer. This bacteria has been classified as a cancer-causing bacteria by the WHO
How can an infection with Helicobacter pylori be diagnosed?
Helicobacter breath test
The breath test is a convenient, non-invasive measurement method, in which an infection with Helicobacter pylori can be verified with extreme accurateness by means of inhaled air. For this purpose, the patient must come to the test on an empty stomach and blow into a small tube.
Unfortunately, the costs for this test are only covered by the public health care providers for children up to the age of 18.
There are no restrictions for private health care providers.
Costs for self-pay patients: € 60
The examination only takes a few minutes. An infection with Helicobacter pylori can also be determined by means of a small mucosa sample, the removal of which is completely painless.
A gastroscopy with evidence of HP is paid for by all health care providers.
In the event of a positive test result, the existing disorder can be quickly remedied and the bacteria can be removed from the body through a simple treatment with medication. There are numerous combinations of medication available for this purpose. The treatment significantly reduces the risk of falling ill with stomach ulcers or stomach cancer. Close relatives of persons, who have been diagnosed with Helicobacter pylori (e.g. their children, parents, partners) should be tested. This can be done with the help of a breath test or with a biopsy during a gastroscopy. In particular, the breath test can be recommended for children and persons, who do not want to undergo a gastroscopy or who are symptom-free.