Helicobacter pylori tests are used to detect a Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection in the stomach and upper part of the small intestine (duodenum). H. pylori can cause peptic ulcers; however, most people with H. pylori in their digestive systems do not develop ulcers.

The breath sample is collected when you blow into a balloon or blow bubbles into a bottle of liquid. The health professional taking a sample of your breath will:

  • Collect a sample of your breath before the test starts.
  • Give you a capsule or some water to swallow that contains tagged or radioactive material.
  • Collect samples of your breath at different times. The breath samples will be tested to see whether they contain material formed when H. pylori comes into contact with the radioactive material.
  • The entire test takes about 30-45 minutes.