JOHN GREIM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN GREIM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Breath test for stomach ulcer. A doctor watches as a patient blows into a sample tube during a urea breath test for gastric ulcers caused by bacteria. The patient has been given a drink containing urea enriched with non- radioactive carbon-13. The bacteria which causes stomach ulcers, Helicobacter pylori, breaks down urea to form carbon dioxide. Half an hour after taking the urea-drink, the patient blows into the sample tube. These tubes are then tested for carbon dioxide containing carbon-13. A positive result indicates the presence of H. pylori and the necessary drugs can then be prescribed to the patient.
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