↓ Skip to main content

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Non-invasive diagnostic tests for Helicobacter pylori infection

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, March 2018
Altmetric Badge

About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (90th percentile)
  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (61st percentile)

Mentioned by

1 news outlet
20 tweeters
1 Facebook page
2 Wikipedia pages


100 Dimensions

Readers on

316 Mendeley
Non-invasive diagnostic tests for Helicobacter pylori infection
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, March 2018
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd012080.pub2
Pubmed ID

Lawrence MJ Best, Yemisi Takwoingi, Sulman Siddique, Abiram Selladurai, Akash Gandhi, Benjamin Low, Mohammad Yaghoobi, Kurinchi Selvan Gurusamy


Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) infection has been implicated in a number of malignancies and non-malignant conditions including peptic ulcers, non-ulcer dyspepsia, recurrent peptic ulcer bleeding, unexplained iron deficiency anaemia, idiopathic thrombocytopaenia purpura, and colorectal adenomas. The confirmatory diagnosis of H pylori is by endoscopic biopsy, followed by histopathological examination using haemotoxylin and eosin (H & E) stain or special stains such as Giemsa stain and Warthin-Starry stain. Special stains are more accurate than H & E stain. There is significant uncertainty about the diagnostic accuracy of non-invasive tests for diagnosis of H pylori. To compare the diagnostic accuracy of urea breath test, serology, and stool antigen test, used alone or in combination, for diagnosis of H pylori infection in symptomatic and asymptomatic people, so that eradication therapy for H pylori can be started. We searched MEDLINE, Embase, the Science Citation Index and the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment Database on 4 March 2016. We screened references in the included studies to identify additional studies. We also conducted citation searches of relevant studies, most recently on 4 December 2016. We did not restrict studies by language or publication status, or whether data were collected prospectively or retrospectively. We included diagnostic accuracy studies that evaluated at least one of the index tests (urea breath test using isotopes such as 13C or 14C, serology and stool antigen test) against the reference standard (histopathological examination using H & E stain, special stains or immunohistochemical stain) in people suspected of having H pylori infection. Two review authors independently screened the references to identify relevant studies and independently extracted data. We assessed the methodological quality of studies using the QUADAS-2 tool. We performed meta-analysis by using the hierarchical summary receiver operating characteristic (HSROC) model to estimate and compare SROC curves. Where appropriate, we used bivariate or univariate logistic regression models to estimate summary sensitivities and specificities. We included 101 studies involving 11,003 participants, of which 5839 participants (53.1%) had H pylori infection. The prevalence of H pylori infection in the studies ranged from 15.2% to 94.7%, with a median prevalence of 53.7% (interquartile range 42.0% to 66.5%). Most of the studies (57%) included participants with dyspepsia and 53 studies excluded participants who recently had proton pump inhibitors or antibiotics.There was at least an unclear risk of bias or unclear applicability concern for each study.Of the 101 studies, 15 compared the accuracy of two index tests and two studies compared the accuracy of three index tests. Thirty-four studies (4242 participants) evaluated serology; 29 studies (2988 participants) evaluated stool antigen test; 34 studies (3139 participants) evaluated urea breath test-13C; 21 studies (1810 participants) evaluated urea breath test-14C; and two studies (127 participants) evaluated urea breath test but did not report the isotope used. The thresholds used to define test positivity and the staining techniques used for histopathological examination (reference standard) varied between studies. Due to sparse data for each threshold reported, it was not possible to identify the best threshold for each test.Using data from 99 studies in an indirect test comparison, there was statistical evidence of a difference in diagnostic accuracy between urea breath test-13C, urea breath test-14C, serology and stool antigen test (P = 0.024). The diagnostic odds ratios for urea breath test-13C, urea breath test-14C, serology, and stool antigen test were 153 (95% confidence interval (CI) 73.7 to 316), 105 (95% CI 74.0 to 150), 47.4 (95% CI 25.5 to 88.1) and 45.1 (95% CI 24.2 to 84.1). The sensitivity (95% CI) estimated at a fixed specificity of 0.90 (median from studies across the four tests), was 0.94 (95% CI 0.89 to 0.97) for urea breath test-13C, 0.92 (95% CI 0.89 to 0.94) for urea breath test-14C, 0.84 (95% CI 0.74 to 0.91) for serology, and 0.83 (95% CI 0.73 to 0.90) for stool antigen test. This implies that on average, given a specificity of 0.90 and prevalence of 53.7% (median specificity and prevalence in the studies), out of 1000 people tested for H pylori infection, there will be 46 false positives (people without H pylori infection who will be diagnosed as having H pylori infection). In this hypothetical cohort, urea breath test-13C, urea breath test-14C, serology, and stool antigen test will give 30 (95% CI 15 to 58), 42 (95% CI 30 to 58), 86 (95% CI 50 to 140), and 89 (95% CI 52 to 146) false negatives respectively (people with H pylori infection for whom the diagnosis of H pylori will be missed).Direct comparisons were based on few head-to-head studies. The ratios of diagnostic odds ratios (DORs) were 0.68 (95% CI 0.12 to 3.70; P = 0.56) for urea breath test-13C versus serology (seven studies), and 0.88 (95% CI 0.14 to 5.56; P = 0.84) for urea breath test-13C versus stool antigen test (seven studies). The 95% CIs of these estimates overlap with those of the ratios of DORs from the indirect comparison. Data were limited or unavailable for meta-analysis of other direct comparisons. In people without a history of gastrectomy and those who have not recently had antibiotics or proton ,pump inhibitors, urea breath tests had high diagnostic accuracy while serology and stool antigen tests were less accurate for diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori infection.This is based on an indirect test comparison (with potential for bias due to confounding), as evidence from direct comparisons was limited or unavailable. The thresholds used for these tests were highly variable and we were unable to identify specific thresholds that might be useful in clinical practice.We need further comparative studies of high methodological quality to obtain more reliable evidence of relative accuracy between the tests. Such studies should be conducted prospectively in a representative spectrum of participants and clearly reported to ensure low risk of bias. Most importantly, studies should prespecify and clearly report thresholds used, and should avoid inappropriate exclusions.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 20 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 316 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 316 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 51 16%
Student > Master 39 12%
Researcher 28 9%
Student > Ph. D. Student 25 8%
Other 20 6%
Other 69 22%
Unknown 84 27%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 114 36%
Nursing and Health Professions 23 7%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 17 5%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 11 3%
Unspecified 10 3%
Other 42 13%
Unknown 99 31%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 25. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 13 June 2022.
All research outputs
of 21,569,681 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,075 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 297,564 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 204 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 21,569,681 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 94th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,075 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 29.3. This one has done well, scoring higher than 76% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 297,564 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 90% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 204 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 61% of its contemporaries.