History of Breath Testing
Breath testing for the diagnosis began in the 1950’s primarily as a research tool. However since radioactive labeled isotopes were used (14C) at that time the use of this breath test technology required special handling procedures. With the Introduction of non-radioactive isotopes like 13C that is used in Hellikit allowed more commercial use of breath tests.
What is Helicobacter Pylori?
H. pylori is a spiral shaped bacterium that has the unique ability to live in the acidic environment of the stomach and can colonize the mucus lining of stomach. This bacteria produces large amounts of urease enzyme that breakdown urea in the stomach into CO2 and ammonia which very is toxic to epithelial layer of the stomach and the presence leads to chronic, low-level inflammation of the lining of the stomach (gastritis). Discovery of this in 1983 heralded as major medical breakthrough.
Why is this infection so dangerous?
H. pylori infection is a chronic problem around the globe especially in less developed regions with poor sanitation/personal hygiene an estimated 80 to 90% of population are infected by this bacteria. What makes it worse is that > 80% of infected are asymptomatic. Such Infection occurs mostly in children, adolescents and remains present for life unless treated. Chronic inflammation can lead to other more serious conditions. For example, the H. pylori infection is associated with:
•90 – 95% of duodenal ulcers and
•60 – 80% of gastric ulcers
•Site of infection determines type of ulcer
•Chronic infection is also associated with gastric cancer
•Classified as a Class-I-carcinogen by the WHO
However the good thing is this is readily detected and can be easily treated; 1st line treatment (“triple therapy” B.I.D: PPI + clarithromycin 500 mg + amoxicillin 1000 mg for 7-10 day duration ) has an 75 – 80% cure rate