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The World in Medicine
June 12, 2002

Breath Test vs Endoscopy

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JAMA. 2002;287(22):2937. doi:10.1001/jama.287.22.2937-JWM20006-3-1

A noninvasive breath test is as safe and effective in detecting Helicobacter pylori infection as endoscopy and is less uncomfortable and distressing for patients, according to a study by researchers in Glasgow, Scotland, in the April 27 issue of BMJ.

In the study, 708 patients under age 55 referred for endoscopic investigation of upper gastrointestinal symptoms were randomized to a carbon 14–urea breath test for H pylori or endoscopy plus H pylori breath testing. Patients were also asked about the degree of discomfort or distress caused by their test and whether they would undergo the same test again with or without sedation. Those with a positive test result were given antibiotics.