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9th December 2019  Content supplied by: Alpha Laboratories Ltd

Rapid Detection of H pylori Stool Antigen

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a Gram Negative bacteria which burrows through the protective mucous lining of the stomach to colonise the mucosal epithelium.  Up to 40% of the UK population may have H. pylori colonisation, but most people will not experience any symptoms or health issues.  Unfortunately, ~15% of individuals with H. pylori develop ulcers in the stomach or duodenum which can cause indigestion, gastritis, bleeding and if untreated may perforate the intestinal wall and require emergency surgery. 

To survive in the hostile acidic environment of the stomach H. pylori produces vast amounts of urease. This enzyme catalyses the hydrolysis of urea to give ammonia which serves to neutralise the acid immediately surrounding the bacteria.  It also uses its flagella to burrow through the mucous layer, moving along a pH gradient away from the gastric acid to the underlying epithelium.  The ammonia produced is toxic to epithelial cells and alongside other proteases and toxins produced by H. pylori can cause inflammation that can result in ulcers.  H. pylori infection may cause up to 90% of duodenal ulcers and 80% of gastric ulcers. Those individuals with H. pylori colonisations are also at 1-2% increased risk of developing gastric cancer.

There are several non-invasive tests for detection of H. Pylori infection - blood antibodies, stool antigens and Urea Breath test (UBT).  Of these, the stool antigen and UBT are the preferred methods for identifying current infection. This is because the blood antibodies test cannot differentiate between active and past infections. 

When comparing the stool antigen test versus the UBT method the UBT method stands out, both in terms of high cost and specialised equipment requirement (the test involves ingestion of radioactive carbon). The stool antigen test, in contrast, represents a cost-effective alternative with little or no compromise on sensitivity and specificity.

The Sentinel Diagnostics Easy-Card H. pylori test, available from Alpha Laboratories is designed for rapid detection of H. pylori antigen in stool samples and gives an answer in just 10 minutes.   Sample processing is quick and simple using the dip stick sampling device and pre-filled buffer tube. The Easy-Card’s lateral flow technology means it is clear and easy to read. 

Read a case study from Frontier Pathology NHS Partnership in Brighton describing their evaluation of the Sentinel Diagnostics Easy-Card H. pylori test and the reasons they switched from their existing test method.

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Date Published: 9th December 2019

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