Introduction: Helicobacter pylori is one of the most common causes of human gastritis. Recently, a new agent has been isolated, which also causes a gastritis. It has been initially named Gastrospirillum hominis and renamed Helicobacter heilmannii (Hh). Hh is extremely rare. In spite of the rarity it is important to recognize and diagnose it, as it requires a proper therapy, different from Hp therapy. Clinical presentation and serological results of Hh are superimposable to those of HP. Therefore differential diagnosis resides on histological grounds. PURPOSE of the present paper is to report 14 new cases of Hh gastritis, which constitutes the first italian series.
Results: Cases constituted 0.01% of all gastric biopsies seen in the period 1994-1998. Nine patients were male and five were female; age ranged from 32 to 76 years (50 years on average). All patients presented a mild to moderate gastritis. Hh is a spiral bacterium, being about 10 micra in length, localized in single or small groups in the glandular mucus. Two cases were associated with Hp. One case was associated with gastric adenocarcinoma. Two cases were diagnosed during the follow-up of duodenal ulcer. In CONCLUSION, the incidence of Hh gastritis in the present series seems consistent with that from other European countries. In all cases the presence of Hh was associated with features of gastritis. This confirms the pathogenetic role of Hh.