Diagnostic accuracy of the 13C-urea breath test for childhood Helicobacter pylori infection: a multicenter Japanese study

Kato, Seiichi; Ozawa, Kyoko; Konno, Mutsuko; Tajiri, Hitoshi; Yoshimura, Norikazu; Shimizu, Toshiaki; Fujisawa, Takuji; Abukawa, Daiki; Minoura, Takanori; Iinuma, Kazuie
July 2002
American Journal of Gastroenterology;Jul2002, Vol. 97 Issue 7, p1668
Academic Journal
OBJECTIVES:In adults, the 13C-urea breath test (UBT) has been widely used as a noninvasive test of Helicobacter pylori infection because of its high sensitivity and specificity. However, this test is less well established in pediatric practice. The optimum cutoff value and test protocol of the 13C-UBT remains to be established in the pediatric population. The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate diagnostic accuracy of the 13C-UBT for children and to determine its optimum cutoff value.METHODS:A total of 220 Japanese children aged 2–16 yr (mean = 11.9) who underwent upper GI endoscopy and gastric biopsies were finally studied. Endoscopic diagnoses included gastritis (n = 131), gastric ulcer (n = 15), duodenal ulcer (n = 72), and combined ulcer (n = 2). H. pylori infection status was confirmed by biopsy tests including histology, urease test, and culture. With the 13C-UBT, breath samples were obtained at baseline and at 20 min after ingestion of 13C-urea without a test meal and were analyzed by isotope ratio mass spectrometry. Based on biopsy tests, a cutoff value was determined using a receiver operating characteristic curve. In 26 children (seven children infected and 19 noninfected), paired breath samples were also measured by nondispersive infrared spectometry (NDIRS).RESULTS:Biopsy tests demonstrated that 89 children (40%) were infected with H. pylori and 131 children were not infected. There were no statistical differences in mean Δ 13C values at 20 min between male and female H. pylori-infected and noninfected patients. A receiver operating characteristic analysis defined the best cutoff value as 3.5‰. The overall sensitivity and specificity at a cutoff value of 3.5‰ were 97.8% (95% CI = 92.1–99.7%) and 98.5% (95% CI = 96.4–100%), respectively: high sensitivity and specificity were demonstrated in all three age groups (≤5, 6–10, and ≥11 yr). There was a close correlation between the values with isotope ratio mass spectrometry and NDIRS methods (r = 0.998, p < 0.001).CONCLUSIONS:The 13C-UBT with a cutoff value of 3.5‰ is an accurate diagnostic method for active H. pylori infection. The test with the NDIRS method is inexpensive and might be widely applied in clinical practice.


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