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International Journal of Microbiology
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 8540904, 6 pages
Research Article

Audit of Helicobacter pylori Testing in Microbiology Laboratories in England: To Inform Compliance with NICE Guidance and the Feasibility of Routine Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance

1Primary Care Unit, Public Health England, Microbiology Department, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Great Western Road, Gloucester GL1 3NN, UK
2Histology Department, Cheltenham General Hospital, Sandford Rd., Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL53 7AN, UK
32gether NHS Foundation Trust, Rikenel, Montpellier, Gloucester GL1 1LY, UK
4Bacteriology Reference Department, National Infection Service, Public Health England, 61 Colindale Avenue, London NW9 5EQ, UK

Received 8 September 2016; Accepted 26 September 2016

Academic Editor: Todd R. Callaway

Copyright © 2016 Rosalie Allison et al. 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.


Introduction. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance recommends that dyspeptic patients are tested for Helicobacter pylori using a urea breath test, stool antigen test, or serology. Antibiotic resistance in H. pylori is globally increasing, but treatment in England is rarely guided by susceptibility testing or surveillance. Aims. To determine compliance of microbiology laboratories in England with NICE guidance and whether laboratories perform culture and antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST). Methods. In 2015, 170 accredited English microbiology laboratories were surveyed, by email. Results. 121/170 (71%) laboratories responded; 96% provided H. pylori testing (78% on site). 94% provided H. pylori diagnosis using stool antigen; only four provided serology as their noninvasive test; 3/4 of these encouraged urea breath tests in their acute trusts. Only 22/94 (23%) of the laboratories performed H. pylori cultures from gastric biopsies on site; 9/22 performed AST, but the vast majority processed less than one specimen/week. Conclusions. Only five laboratories in England do not comply with NICE guidance; these will need the guidance reinforced. National surveillance needs to be implemented; culture-based AST would need to be centralised. Moving forward, detection of resistance in H. pylori from stool specimens using molecular methods (PCR) needs to be explored.