JOHN GREIM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN GREIM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Breath test for stomach ulcer. Nurse assists a male patient to exhale into a sample tube, during a breath test for stomach ulcers caused by bacteria. The patient holds a LARA (Laser Assisted Ratio Analyzer) sample tube. The patient has been given a small amount of urea enriched with non- radioactive carbon-13. It is known that Helicobacter pylori bacteria is a common cause of stomach ulcers, and this bacteria breaks down urea to produce carbon dioxide (CO2). Half an hour after ingesting urea, the patient exhales into the tube, and a CO2 laser analyses this gas for raised CO2 (carbon-13) levels which confirms the diagnosis of stomach ulcer.
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