Hi all, various breath tests are now available which are non-invasive and are based on the use of stable isotopes. The most common example is the diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori infection. During this test the patient is given a solution containing 75mg of urea in which normal carbon is replaced with carbon-13. The patients gives two breath samples by blowing into an exetainer before and 30 minutes after the dose. The two sample vials are analysed on a mass spectrometer to find if the H. pylori infection is present or not.
The second example would be measuring the gastric emptying rate. The procedure for this teat is longer (4-6hrs) but the subject has only to blow into exetainers after regular intervals. The analysis is again on a mass spectrometer and results accurately provide gastric emptying rate/time. Further information could be obtained from UBT Lab, NORI Hospital, G-8 Markaz, Islamabad. 03343699318 (Faisal)