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Type: Journal article
Title: Diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori by carbon-13 urea breath test using a portable mass spectrometer
Author: Sreekumar, J.
France, N.
Taylor, S.
Matthews, T.
Turner, P.
Bliss, P.
Brook, A.
Watson, A.
Citation: SAGE open medicine, 2015; 3:1-6
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 2050-3121
Statement of
J Sreekumar, N France, S Taylor, T Matthews, P Turner, P Bliss, Alan H Brook and AJM Watson
Abstract: Context: In the non-invasive detection of markers of disease, mass spectrometry is able to detect small quantities of volatile markers in exhaled air. However, the problem of size, expense and immobility of conventional mass spectrometry equipment has restricted its use. Now, a smaller, less expensive, portable quadrupole mass spectrometer system has been developed. Helicobacter pylori has been implicated in the development of chronic gastritis, gastric and duodenal ulcers and gastric cancer. Objectives: To compare the results obtained from the presence of H. pylori by a carbon-13 urea test using a portable quadrupole mass spectrometer system with those from a fixed mass spectrometer in a hospital-based clinical trial. Methods: Following ethical approval, 45 patients attending a gastroenterology clinic at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital exhaled a breath sample into a Tedlar gas sampling bag. They then drank an orange juice containing urea radiolabelled with carbon and 30 min later gave a second breath sample. The carbon-13 content of both samples was measured using both quadrupole mass spectrometer systems. If the post-drink level exceeded the pre-drink level by 3% or more, a positive diagnosis for the presence of H. pylori was made. Results: The findings were compared to the results using conventional isotope ratio mass spectrometry using a laboratory-based magnetic sector instrument off-site. The results showed agreement in 39 of the 45 patients. Conclusions: This study suggests that a portable quadrupole mass spectrometer is a potential alternative to the conventional centralised testing equipment. Future development of the portable quadrupole mass spectrometer to reduce further its size and cost is indicated, together with further work to validate this new equipment and to enhance its use in mass spectrometry diagnosis of other medical conditions.
Keywords: Helicobacter pylori; portable quadrupole mass spectrometer; urea breath test
Rights: © The Author(s) 2015 Creative Commons CC-BY-NC: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
RMID: 0030041912
DOI: 10.1177/2050312115569565
Appears in Collections:Dentistry publications

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