In 2019 alone, the diagnosis of H. Pylori cases hit an all time high of more than a million. Considering that this is a normal flora that anybody in Africa and Kenya would test positive for, could there be a problem somewhere? Could the diagnostic kits be faulty? Or is there a hand by the Pharma industry to drive sales of H. Pylori kits? Let us revisit the tests and procedures used in determining whether your patient has an Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori) infection.
Carry out an analysis of a blood sample drawn from your patient. This may reveal evidence of a previous or active H. Pylori infection in the body of your patient. Nonetheless, stool and breath tests are considered to be better at picking out active H.Pylori infections compared to blood test.
This test is also referred to as a stool antigen test. The test looks for antigens (foreign proteins) associated with H. Pylori infection in the patient’s stool.
If your patient is on proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) or bismuth subsalicylate, ask them to stop taking for two weeks before the test. These may interfere with the accuracy of this test.
During this test, give your patient a pill, pudding or liquid containing tagged carbon molecules to swallow. If they have an H. Pylori infection, the solution wll be broken down in their stomach to release carbon.
Their body will absorb carbon and expel it when they exhale. Ask your patient to exhale into a bag and detect the carbon molecules.
Note: Acid-suppressing drugs such as proton pump inhibitors, bismuth subsalicylate (pepto-Bismol) and antibiotics can tamper with the accuracy of this test. Ask your patient to stop taking the medication for one or two weeks before the test is conducted.
This is also known as the upper endoscopy exam. Sedate your patient before this test.
In this test, a long flexible tube with a tiny camera (endoscope) is used to view any abnormalities in the upper digestive tract of the patient and remove tissue samples (biopsy).
Note: Since it is more invasive compared to a stool or breath test, this test is not recommended solely to diagnosis H. Pylori infection. Nonetheless, it is of use in diagnosing H. Pylori ulcers or if it is of help in ruling out other digestive condiitons.
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This article has been sponsored by Hub Medical Supplies. They do supply H. Pylori antigen and H. Pylori antibody. Contact them through +254711221173.