13C‐urea breath test (13C‐UBT) is an accurate noninvasive tool for diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori infection. It is considered the best method for epidemiological studies, but there are few studies to evaluate the 13C‐UBT in infants and toddlers.
Aim:To evaluate the 13C‐UBT performed with infrared spectroscopy in children aged up to 6 years.
Patients: Sixty‐eight patients (6 months. to 5 years 11 months.) were evaluated prospectively and consecutively.
Methods: Helicobacter pylori infection was detected by positive culture, or rapid urease test and histological examination, both positive. 13C‐UBT was performed with 50 mg of 13C‐urea diluted in 100 ml of commercial orange juice. Two expired air samples were collected: before and 30 minutes after tracer ingestion. Cutoff of delta over baseline (DOB) was 4.0‰ and urea hydrolysis rate 10 µg/minute.
Results: Fifteen of 68 (22.1%) patients were H. pylori infected. Sensitivity was 93.3% (95% CI; 86.8%–99.7%) and specificity was 96.2% (95% CI; 93.6%–98.8%), and these values were equal for DOB and urea hydrolysis rate. Negative DOB values in noninfected patients ranged from −1.5‰ to 2.6‰ and positive DOB values ranged from 10.8‰ to 105.5‰. There was no relationship between DOB values and age.
Conclusion: 13C‐UBT performed with infrared spectroscopy proved to be a reliable and accurate noninvasive diagnostic tool for H. pylor i infection detection in children aged up to 6 years. Results far from cutoff value can clearly distinguish positive from negative 13C‐UBT results in children up to 6 years old.