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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 11, Issue 5, Pages 437-440
Original Article

Evaluation of Salivary Antibodies to Detect Infection with Helicobacter pylori

Mark B Loeb, Robert H Riddell, Cindy James, Richard Hunt, and Fiona M Smaill

Departments of Laboratory Medicine, Pathology and Gastroenterology, McMaster University Medical Centre, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Received 16 December 1996; Accepted 1 April 1997

Copyright © 1997 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Helicobacter pylori infection is an important cause of peptic ulcer disease and chronic gastritis. Infection with this bacterium stimulates the production of immunoglobulin (Ig) G antibody. Salivary IgG antibody tests to detect H pylori infection offer a convenient and noninvasive method of diagnosis. To evaluate an IgG salivary antibody kit, saliva was collected from 157 out-patients with dyspepsia referred for endoscopy to a tertiary centre. A salivary IgG ELISA antibody assay was performed using the Helisal Helicobacter pylori (IgG) assay kit, and at least four gastric biopsies were obtained. H pylori infection was confirmed by demonstration of the organism on Warthin-Starry silver stain (sensitivity 85%, specificity 55%). The prevalence of infection with H pylori was 30%. When the analysis was redone, excluding those treated with eradication therapy, the results were similar (sensitivity 86%, specificity 58%). The positive predictive value of the assay was 45% and the negative predictive value was 90%. Despite the ease of sampling, the assay used has limited diagnostic utility, lacking the predictive value to indicate which patients referred with dyspeptic symptoms to a tertiary care setting are infected with H pylori.