First-time Urea Breath Tests Performed at Home by 36,629 Patients: A Study ofHelicobacter pyloriPrevalence in Primary Care

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The aim of the current study was (1) to describe the use of a 13C-urea breath test (UBT) that was performed by patients at their homes as a part of a test-and-treat strategy in primary care and (2) to investigate the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori in patients taking a first-time UBT.

Material and Methods:

The patients performed UBTs at home based on the discretion of the general practitioner and mailed the breath bags to a central laboratory for analysis. Each patient was identified by a unique civil registration number. The study was population-based, and the background population was approximately 700,000 people.


From 2003 to 2009, 44,487 UBTs were performed. Of these, 36,629 were first-time UBTs. In total, 726 of 45,213 breath bags received (1.6%) were unable to be analyzed because of errors with the bags. For both women and men who were ≤45 years of age, positive H. pylori declined over the time course of the study (women: 19.6% in 2003 to 17.6% in 2009, p < .01; men: 20.7% in 2003 to 16.9% in 2009, p < .001). Patients who were older than 45 years had significantly higher positive H. pylori results than younger patients.


A test-and-treat system was possible to implement that allowed patients to perform UBTs at their homes. The results of the first-time UBTs demonstrated that approximately one of five patients who presented with dyspepsia in the clinical setting of Danish primary care was infected with H. pylori.

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