Answer to Question #10682 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Nuclear Medicine Patient Issues — Diagnostic Nuclear Medicine

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

Answer posted on 12 June 2013. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.