What is Carbon 13 Urea Breath Test?
The Urea Breath Test (UBT) or carbon urea breath test is a diagnostic test used to determine the occurrence of the H. Pylori or Helicopter pylori bacterium in your stomach. The H. pylori bacterium is responsible for several disorders affecting the stomach including ulcers, stomach inflammation and atrophy.
The principle behind the Carbon 13 Urea Breath test relies on the fact that the H. pylori bacterium breaks down urea to form carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide is then breathed out after being released into the stomach.
For the test, the patient will have to ingest a capsule of urea that is made using an isotope mainly of carbon. If there is a presence of H. pylori in the area of the stomach, this urea will be broken down to carbon dioxide will travel to the lungs through the bloodstream and will be excreted through the breath. Therefore a sample of the breath that is exhales is taken and the levels of carbon dioxide are measured.
If the carbon isotope is found in the exhaled breath or the test is positive, it entails the existence of the H. pylori bacteria. If there is no presence of the carbon isotope or the test is negative, it indicates an absence of infection or that the infection has been successfully treated.