The interest in Helicobacter pylori has escalated in recent years. H. pylori may produce a chronic gastric infection which is usually life-long and many epidemiological studies have shown that this is the most common bacterial infection throughout the world involving 50% of the world population. Thus, it is clear that the diagnosis of H. pylori infection represents at least a key step in the management of many of the patients referred to the gastroenterologist. Additionally, due to the wide range and relevance of pathologies possibly related to this infection, from micronutrient malnutrition and co-infections to malignancies, there is the potential for H. pylori to be a major health problem. Improved methods for the diagnosis and follow up treatment of the infection have been developed. Use of stable isotopes as non-invasive and safe diagnostic methods, namely (13C) breath tests, has been the key to a new era of research in H. pylori epidemiology and diagnosis as well as the establishment of eradication therapies. This non-invasive nuclear technique, that is considered the gold standard for the diagnosis of this bacterial infection, has successfully been standardized and implemented along Latin America. Taking into account the high prevalence of this bacterial infection, the impact of this technique in the whole region is very high. In this article we discuss several aspects of this methodology in order to harmonize the application of this method in developing regions.
|Archivos latinoamericanos de nutrición
|4 Suppl 2
|Published - Dec 2004