This test is used to diagnose infection due to Helicobacter pylori. A positive test for H. pylori indicates that a person's gastrointestinal pain may be caused by a peptic ulcer due to this bacterium. Treatment with a combination of antibiotics and other medications will be prescribed to kill the bacteria and stop the pain and the ulceration
Testing for H. pylori may be repeated following several weeks of treatment to determine if it was effective. However, the blood antibody test cannot be used for this purpose since antibodies to H. pylori may persist even after an infection is resolved; usually the stool or breath test will be used for this purpose. A doctor may order one of the H. pylori tests to determine if there is evidence of this infection when someone is experiencing gastrointestinal pain and symptoms of an ulcer.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Before the test: The Helicobacter Pylori test is a simple blood test. You can eat and drink normally before the test. During the test: A member of your health care team simply takes a sample of blood by inserting a needle into a vein in your arm or pricking the tip of your finger with a small, pointed lancet. The blood sample is sent to a lab for analysis. After the test: You can return to your usual activities immediately.
A positive H. pylori antibody, antigen, or breath test indicates that someone has been infected with this organism. In recent years, scientific data support that this bacteria can cause peptic ulcers and appropriate treatment can destroy the bacteria to stop the disease. A negative blood antibody or stool antigen test may mean that someone is not infected. However, if symptoms persist, a doctor may order the more invasive tissue biopsy to more conclusively rule out infection.