test could become the new method of detection for stomach
ulcers, according to researchers at the Western Infirmary
in Glasgow, Scotland.
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.
breath test, where a patient simply blows into a tube, can
detect the presence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a
bacteria that causes ulcers.
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.
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.
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.
Medical Week staff,
week of May 5, 2002