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Senior Health Week: Acid Reflux - Ulcers
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Acid Reflux - Ulcer News:

Breath Test Can Detect Presence of Bacteria That Causes Ulcers

A breath test could become the new method of detection for stomach ulcers, according to researchers at the Western Infirmary in Glasgow, Scotland.

The current method of testing for ulcers requires the use of an endoscope, a small telescope put down a patient's throat so the stomach can be viewed.

The new breath test, where a patient simply blows into a tube, can detect the presence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a bacteria that causes ulcers.

A total of 708 patients, all under age 55 and suffering from dyspepsia (pain or an uncomfortable feeling in the upper middle part of the stomach), were either given both an endoscopy and a breath test or the breath test alone.

Researchers found that the breath test was just as effective as endoscopy, according to the study published in the British Medical Journal. Also, patients found the breath test less uncomfortable and distressing than the endoscopy procedure. The breath test is also substantially cheaper than endoscopy.

Researchers are hopeful that patients will be more willing to undergo the breath test and therefore the procedure will help to improve detection rates of H Pylori infections.

Source: Medical Week staff, week of May 5, 2002


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