Helicobacter pylori lives on the surface of the stomach lining. The bacterium has developed means of surviving in the acidic environment of the stomach. Helicobacter pylori is usually contracted in childhood, often from person to person, but the exact route of transmission is unknown. Even though Helicobacter pylori is extremely common, it was not identified until the 1980s. The prevalence of Helicobacter pylori is connected to the general level of hygiene. For this reason, its incidence rate is in direct proportion to age groups in Finland. About half of the members of older generations have Helicobacter pylori. In those born after 1990, fewer than 10% have Helicobacter pylori.
The infection does not usually display symptoms. Therefore, upper abdominal issues are only rarely caused by Helicobacter pylori. Helicobacter pylori may result in gastritis and lead to the development of a duodenal or peptic ulcer in 10–20% of the cases. The risk of gastric cancer is also about 2–6 times higher in those infected with Helicobacter pylori. A Helicobacter infection may be connected to iron deficiency anaemia.
An infection can be verified by measuring the antibodies formed by the body if Helicobacter pylori is present. The test is called HepyAb.
When should Helicobacter pylori be measured?
A Helicobacter pylori infection may be connected to the following symptoms and disorders:
- duodenal or peptic ulcer
- ambiguous stomach symptoms, such as undulating stomach pain, nausea, burping, feeling full or bloating
- Inexplicable weight loss
- Bloody or black stool
- Blood in vomit or vomit resembling coffee grounds.
What does the HepyAb test measure?
The test is used to verify whether the person has antibodies caused by Helicobacter pylori.
How to interpret the HepyAb test result?
What can cause elevated levels in the HepyAb?
Positive, in other words elevated, Helicobacter pylori antibodies indicate that the bacteria are active in the body. The antibodies remain elevated for a long time, despite treatment.
Successful eviction treatment reduces the antibody levels from the levels preceding the treatment (a decrease of 40–60% about 4–6 months after treatment). After this, the antibodies may remain elevated for a long time.
What can cause decreased levels in the HepyAb?
The value cannot be decreased. A healthy person does not have a Helicobacter pylori infection, in which case antibodies are not formed.
SYNLAB test list: Helicobacter pylori, antibodies (3950 S-HepyAb, 3954 HepyAbG, 3953 HepyAbA) https://www2.synlab.fi/laboratoriokasikirja/tutkimuskuvaukset/helicobacter-pylori-igg/
Lab Tests Online: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) Testing https://labtestsonline.org/tests/helicobacter-pylori-h-pylori-testing
Tunturi S. Helikobakteeri. Duodecim Terveyskirjasto. 21 January 2021 https://www.terveyskirjasto.fi/dlk00019/helikobakteeri?q=helicobakteeri (cited 30 April 21)
Fasting is not required
This examination does not require fasting