Helicobacter Pylori – IgG Test


Last Updated December 20th, 2021

What is Helicobacter pylori – IgG test?

Helicobacter pylori IgG test is a test performed to detect active or a previous Helicobacter pylori infection in your blood. Apart from the blood test, antibody tests using saliva and urine are also used.
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) IgG test is the most commonly used serological test because it can be used for screening large populations.

What is Helicobacter pylori?

Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) is a gram-negative, spiral-shaped bacterium that has a worldwide distribution. It is associated with strong urease production and is excreted by the humans in their feces. Helicobacter pylori reside on the luminal side of the stomach mucosa and are one of the most common chronic bacterial infections. About half of the world population is believed to be afflicted with H.pylori infection.

Antibodies against Helicobacter pylori occur in about 70% of individuals with chronic active gastritis. Ulcers occur in 60-90 % of these cases. Most of the cases are, however, asymptomatic. An infection with H.pylori can lead to gastritis (inflammation of the lining of the stomach), ulcers of the stomach and the small intestine, and even gastric cancers in some instances.

How does one get infected with Helicobacter infection?

The etiology of Helicobacter pylori infection is not exactly known. However, what is known is that it can be transferred from person to person via saliva, vomitus, and fecal matter. Contaminated water or food can also be a cause of transmission. The incidence of infection with H.pylori is more in developing and under-developed nations. The risk factors associated with an infection with H.pylori are-

– A dearth of clean water for drinking purposes.
– Living in unhygienic settings with no access to sanitary facilities.
– If someone close to you is suffering from H.pylori infection.
– Living in an underdeveloped/developing country increases your chances of contracting infection.
– Having dental plaques or a family history of gastric diseases increases your risk of developing H.pylori infection.

Why has my physician asked me to undergo a Helicobacter pylori – IgG test?

Most of the patients with Helicobacter pylori infection are asymptomatic. Your doctor may ask you to go for a Helicobacter pylori IgG test if you present with the following signs and symptoms-

– Persistent pain abdomen
– Nausea/vomiting
– A sense of bloating/early satiety
– Decrease in appetite
– Difficulty in swallowing
Bloody stools
– Blood in vomit
– Unexplained weight loss

Your physician may also ask you to go for a Helicobacter pylori IgG test if you reside in an area where the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection is high.

Do I need to fast before the Helicobacter pylori – IgG test?

There is no need to fast before a Helicobacter pylori blood test. It is a test detecting the presence of the IgG antibody in your blood and your fasting status does not hamper with the result. However, for a salivary IgG test, you will be instructed not to drink water or take foods an hour before the test.

Can I undergo the Helicobacter pylori – IgG test if I am pregnant?

Yes, you can undergo a Helicobacter test if you are pregnant or breastfeeding your child. This is a safe, risk-free test.

Can children undergo the Helicobacter pylori – IgG test?

Children of all ages can undergo Helicobacter test.H.pyloriinfection is generally acquired during childhood and unless treated, it stays in the body of an individual throughout his lifetime-asymptomatic or symptomatic.

How should I prepare for the Helicobacter pylori – IgG test?

No specific preparation is required for a Helicobacter pylori IgG test. However, you need to discuss your medical history in detail with your physician. Inform him if you suffer from any bleeding disorder or are taking blood thinners.

Are there any risks involved?

Helicobacter pylori – IgG test is a safe, risk-free test. As it is a blood test, it involves withdrawing a blood sample from a vein on your arm. This procedure may elicit pain and lead to dizziness in some patients. You can prefer to look away when blood is being withdrawn if you are faint-hearted. A bruise, bleeding, hematoma or subsequent infection at the site of invasion of the vein may be a complication. Consult your doctor if these problems persist.

What are the contraindications of the Helicobacter pylori – IgG test?

There are no absolute contraindications for Helicobacter pylori IgG blood test. However, if you suffer from severe coagulopathy, your physician may prescribe an alternative diagnostic test.

How is Helicobacter pylori – IgG blood performed?

Helicobacter pylori – IgGblood test is performed as an outpatient procedure. The test can be carried out in a doctor’s office or at a diagnostic center. It is a safe, minimally invasive and quick test. No sedation is given. The technician will apply a tourniquet proximally to the site chosen for venipuncture.

This makes the veins more prominent, allowing easier access. The area is cleaned with a disinfectant. A sterile needle is used to puncture the vein and draw about 5 ml of blood. The pressure is applied to the vein with sterile gauze after the needle is withdrawn. The tourniquet is released. The blood sample is collected in a vial. A small bandage is applied over the site from where blood has been drawn.

How is the urine and saliva test for the same performed?

Salivary IgG test– For a salivary IgG test, you will be instructed not to drink water or take foods an hour before the test. You will also be told not to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth for the same duration.

A saliva sample of 0.5 ml to 1 ml is collected. This test can even be used in home settings for self-analysis using a specially designed kit. The appearance of 2 red color bands (‘T’ band and ‘C’ band, i.e., testing band and control band) within the result window indicates a positive result.

Urine ELISA (IgG) test-It is an inexpensive, and easy to perform test that detects anti. pylori IgG antibodies in the urine.

How long does the Helicobacter pylori – IgG test take?

A Helicobacter pylori – IgG blood test takes about 10-15 minutes. However, in cases where venous access is difficult (young children, obese or geriatric patients), more than one prick may be required, leading to prolongation of the duration of the test. A salivary IgG test takes only about 5-10 minutes to perform. A urine test takes about 15-20 minutes.

What is the cost of Helicobacter pylori – IgG test in India?

The cost of undertaking the Helicobacter pylori – IgGblood test in India ranges from Rs 1500-2000. The actual cost may depend on the city you reside in.

What are the advantages and limitations of the Helicobacter pylori – IgG test?

Advantages  Limitations
It is an easy to perform test that uses blood, saliva or urine to detect Anti-H. pylori antibodies. It is a safe and inexpensive test.It cannot differentiate between a present or a past infection.
It can be used for screening large at-risk populations.It cannot be used to predict the presence or absence of gastro-duodenal disease in a patient.
The salivary IgG test can even be performed at home.The presence of H.pylori in the body does not throw light on the severity of the disease.
It can be used to determine response to therapy. A significant drop in the IgG antibody after 6 months of treatment points towards a successful recovery.The sensitivity of this test is high (up to 100%) but the specificity is very low.

What are the other tests to detect Helicobacter pylori – infection?

Non-invasive tests.

Breath Test- In this test, your physician will ask you to swallow a pill or a liquid tagged with carbon. If you are suffering from H.pylori infection, carbon will be released when the ingested pill is broken down in your stomach. When you exhale, this carbon will be in your breath. Your physician will use a special device to detect carbon in your breath.

Fecal antigen test- This test is also known as a stool antigen test. It detects the presence of antigens (foreign proteins) related to H.pylori infection in your stool sample. Certain antibiotics, PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) and bismuth subsalicylate can interfere with the test results and are hence avoided for a couple of weeks before performing the above 2 tests. Both tests can be used for adults as well as children.

Invasive tests. These tests are stressful for the patient and are only employed when there are serious signs including bleeding, weight loss or severe anemia. These are also used when treatment failure is seen. These include:

Endoscopic biopsy-It includes the insertion of a long, flexible tube into your stomach via your mouth and esophagus. You may be sedated for this procedure or a local anesthetic spray may be used to numb the back of your throat. The flexible tube has a camera (endoscope) at its end to enable the doctor to view the inside of your stomach and intestines. It is also equipped to take a small tissue sample (biopsy) for further analysis.

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