To determine whether transportation time and use of a low budget transport medium (NaCl 0.9%) would influence culture of Helicobacter pylori from gastric biopsy specimens, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy was performed on 42 patients. The specimens were cultured and examined histologically, and H pylori antibodies were determined using an ELISA technique. Patients were regarded as H pylori positive when culture was positive or when histology or IgG anti-H pylori antibodies indicated H pylori infection. Rapid transportation of gastric biopsy specimens in NaCl 0.9%, at room temperature resulted in a high diagnostic yield (23 H pylori positive cultures in 26 patients with H pylori infection). A 24 hour delay in plating gastric biopsy specimens after transportation in NaCl 0.9%, at room temperature, did not seriously affect results (22 instead of 23 H pylori positive cultures). The culture results after transportation in Cairy-Blair medium were comparable with those after transportation in NaCl 0.9%, but because of availability, low cost, and ease of handling in the endoscopy department, NaCl 0.9% was preferred as transport medium. This study shows that for culture of H pylori from gastric biopsy specimens sterile saline is an adequate medium, and that transportation can be delayed for 24 hours without a significant loss of diagnostic yield.
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