PURPOSE: We tried to evaluate whether the detection rate of Helicobacter pylori in gastric biopsy specimens could be improved by using pre-embedding immunoelectron microscopy. METHODS: A total of 119 children who complained of upper gastrointestinal symptoms were endoscoped at the Gyeongsang National University Hospital from July, 1996 to July, 1999. Five biopsy specimens(three for urease test, one for hematoxylin-eosin(H and E) staining, and one for pre- embedding immunoelectron microscopy) were obtained from each antrum and body. Immunoblotting analysis were also performed. RESULTS: Among the 119 patients, H. pylori were found in 116 patients(97.5%) by the immunoelectron microscopy. Among three patients who were found H. pylori negative in immunoelectron microscopy, two patients showed H. pylori in H and E stained slides and one patient was urease test positive(color change within six hours). Urease tests were positive in 107 patients(89.9 %). The positive rate of immunoblotting tests was 81.5%. However, only 13 patients(10.9%) showed H. pylori on the H and E stained antrum or body tissue. CONCLUSION: In this study, we found H. pylori histopathologically in most of the pediatric patients who complained of upper gastrointestinal symptoms. This study showed that pre-embedding immunoelectron microscopic examinations can be used as a gold standard in the diagnosis of childhood H. pylori infection. However, this method also has limited capacity to detect widely scattered H. pylori compared to the other histopathologic diagnostic methods.