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Helicobacter Pylori Urea Breath Test

What is Helicobacter pylori?

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a type of bacteria that can infect your stomach and small intestine and cause conditions like inflammation and/or ulcers in your stomach and small intestine and is also associated with gastric cancer. If you have received this brochure, you are being scheduled for a H. pylori Urea Breath Test because…

  • You have previously been proven to have H. pylori in your stomach and your doctor wants you to take antibiotics before this test to check that you have been cleared of it, OR 
  • Your doctor thinks there is a possibility that you may have H. pylori infection and wants to use this test to check for it. 

What to do before the test?

For this test to be accurate, please take note of the following instructions:

  • Please ensure that you have completed the antibiotics prescribed by your doctor at least 4 weeks before your test date. (If you have received other antibiotics for other infections within 4 weeks before your test date, please call the Department of Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging to postpone your test.)
  • Please ensure that you have stopped taking any gastroprotective/gastric medications (e.g. proton pump inhibitors such as Omeprazole, or H2 receptor blockers such as Famotidine, or Bismuth) for at least 2 weeks before the test date (unless you have received special instructions from your doctor not to stop this medication for a specific reason). 
  • Do not eat or drink anything (except plain water) at least 6 hours before the scheduled time of the test.

How does the H. pylori Urea Breath Test work?

H. pylori produces an enzyme called urease, which breaks down urea into ammonia and carbon dioxide. The H. pylori Urea Breath Test checks for the presence of H. pylori in your stomach. 

During this test, you will first swallow a pill which contains a small amount of C-14 radiolabelled urea. After 10 minutes, you will blow gently into a solution. This solution will then be processed to identify the presence of radiolabelled carbon dioxide, which indicates the presence of H. pylori in your stomach. 

The procedure will take approximately 30 minutes. Your doctor will inform you of your test result at your next appointment.

Contact Us

For general enquiries or change of appointment date, please contact the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging at

Tel: (65) 6321 3838 / 6321 4203 
9.00am to 5.00pm (Monday to Friday) 

If you need to reschedule the test, please call at least 2 working days before the test.