Urea breath test

Keywords: Helicobacter breath test, C14 Urea breath test


Expired air.


CO2 extracted from expired breath, 15 minutes before and 30 minutes after an oral dose of 13C urea or 14C urea.

GCMS or radiometric assay of CO2 derived from hydrolysis of urea in the stomach by Helicobacter pylori.

Reference Interval:

Depends on method.


A non-invasive method for detection of gastric Helicobacter pylori infection, especially to monitor efficacy of therapy.


Rapid hydrolysis of urea indicates the presence of urea-splitting micro-organisms in the stomach.

The test normalises within 1-2 months after eradication of theorganism by therapy.


Dunn BE et al. Clin Microbiol Rev. 1997; 10: 720-741.

Passaro DJ et al. Clin Infect Dis. 2002; 35: 298-304.