Researchers from the University of Wurzburg in Germany have determined that a simple antibody test may be as effective in detecting Helicobacter pylori infection as the more invasive procedures that are currently used. They reported their findings in the December 1997 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.
In the study, the researchers compared the sensitivity of a test for H pylori-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies with the standard tests in clinical practice. The antibody test had a 98% sensitivity, correctly diagnosing 58 of the 59 patients diagnosed by standard methods.
The current gold standard tests in clinical practice, endoscopy for histology and the rapid urease test, are limited by their relatively high costs and the need for invasive procedures, say the researchers. Determination of antibodies against H pylori presents a relatively simple diagnostic method, with kits that can be used to perform this method now...readily available from commercial sources.
Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium that lives in the harsh acidic environment of the stomach. The cause of most duodenal ulcers and an estimated 70% to 80% of gastric ulcers, H pylori is considered to be a risk factor for stomach cancer.