Answer to Question #10682 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"
The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:
I'm confused about the radiation in a standard breath test for H. pylori (urea breath test). Could you tell me the radiation dose I received from this, and maybe put it into context compared to, say, a chest x ray?
I've had several of these tests and want to make sure I'm okay.
The standard 14C breath test for H. pylori is a very low dose procedure. The effective dose from it is between approximately 0.001 mSv and 0.003 mSv depending on the test results (the higher dose is for H. pylori positive result). A two-view chest x-ray exam results in an effective dose of approximately 0.06 mSv. In other words, it would take 20 breath tests (or more depending on the result) to be the same as a chest x ray.
Kent Lambert, CHP
Topic Editor, Medical and Dental Patient Issues