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Hydrogen Breath Test

How is the test performed

A safe and simple hand held gas analyser machine (gastrolyser) is used to detect small amounts of exhaled hydrogen after patients ingest a test dose of carbohydrate. An exclusion diet is followed the evening before the test and a 5 hour fast required.  A baseline hydrogen value is taken before test carbohydrates are administered.
A standard dose of a specific carbohydrate (fructose, lactose or sorbitol, etc.) is ingested and readings are taken at 20 minute intervals looking for a rise of at least 20 ppm of H2.  If there is no increase in breath hydrogen and no abnormal symptoms the test carbohydrate has been completely absorbed. A rise in breath H2 of more than 20ppm indicates incomplete absorption of the test sugar and intolerance.
During the analysis symptoms are recorded and must be considered along with the measured hydrogen levels to establish the diagnosis of carbohydrate intolerance.
Only one test can be performed per day, a 2-3 day break is required between testing.
Testing is noninvasive, takes 2-3 hours, and is safe for all ages over 5 years . Testing may be performed during pregnancy after exclusion of gestational diabetes. Diabetic patients must contact the testing centre before investigation to discuss glycaemic control.
The results are entered into a central computer which has sophisticated algorithms and graphs specific for each test, the results are then reviewed and validated by scientific staff and a Gastroenterologist before being forwarded to the patient or transmitted to the General Practitioner via Argus with encryption..

Where can I have the test done?

Testing for lactulose fructose, lactose, sorbitol, and glucose can be performed by Melbourne Breath Test in one of its collection centers that has been equipped for hydrogen breath testing.
Many of our centres offer testing on a daily basis including Saturday mornings. Please call (03) 9704 4744 to make a booking and find the closest testing centre

How much does each test cost?

None of the tests are covered by Medicare so the patient has to pay the full amount. We try to keep the cost of each test to a minimum and currently the cost is $70 for each test, we require Lactulose is performed as a mandatory first test as a quality measure to confirm the patient is a Hydrogen producer and acts as screen for Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).

Do I need a do referral from a doctor?

No, download the referral and instructions sheet by clicking here, fill in the details and call us for a booking. Many patients choose to liaise with a GP for assistance with interpreting the results and on going management should a patient return a positive result.