BACKGROUND: The aim of the current study was (1) to describe the use of a (13) C-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.
RESULTS: 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.
CONCLUSIONS: 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.