Objectives: Eradication of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection markedly reduces the recurrence of duodenal and gastric ulcers. However, there is little information regarding its efficacy in resolving dyspeptic symptoms in ulcer patients. The primary aim of this study was to assess the effect of eradicating H. pylori infection on dyspeptic symptoms in ulcer patients. The secondary aim was to identify predictors of symptomatic response to H. pylori eradication.
Methods: A total of 97 dyspeptic patients with active duodenal and/or gastric ulceration associated with H. pylori infection and unrelated to NSAID use had the severity and character of their dyspeptic symptoms measured before and again 1-3 yr after H. pylori eradication therapy.
Results: Pretreatment, the median dyspepsia score was 12 (4-16). Posttreatment, 55% of those eradicated of H. pylori had resolution of dyspepsia (score <2) compared with 18% of those not eradicated of the infection (95% CI for difference, 11-62%). Of the ulcer patients 31% had symptoms and/or endoscopic evidence of coexisting gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) at initial presentation and this influenced the symptomatic response to eradication of H. pylori. Of the 22 patients with heartburn or acid reflux as the predominant presenting symptom, but no endoscopic esophagitis, only 27% experienced resolution of dyspepsia after H. pylori eradication, compared with 68% of the 59 without those as predominant symptoms (95% CI for difference, 18-63%). Only one of the five patients with coexisting endoscopic esophagitis at initial presentation experienced resolution of dyspepsia after H. pylori eradication. Symptomatic benefit was unrelated to time lapsed since the infection was eradicated. Only three of 50 subjects developed de novo GERD symptoms after eradication of H. pylori, whereas 21 of 36 subjects experienced resolution of GERD symptoms after eradication of the infection.
Conclusions: A substantial proportion of ulcer patients have symptoms and/or signs of coexisting GERD at initial presentation and this reduces the symptomatic benefit from H. pylori eradication. However, we have found no evidence that eradicating H. pylori induces de novo GERD symptoms in ulcer patients.