Background: Recent studies have clarified a close association between H. pylori infection and gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, and gastric cancer, but there is little information concerning the relationship between H. pylori infection and reflux esophagitis (RE). We investigated the relationship between H. pylori, RE, and corpus gastritis.
Subjects and methods: Ninety-five patients with RE and 190 sex- and age-matched asymptomatic healthy controls demonstrating no localized lesions in the upper GI tract were studied and evaluated for H. pylori infection, histologic gastritis, serum gastrin, and pepsinogens (PGs).
Results: H. pylori infection was significantly lower in RE patients than in asymptomatic controls (41% vs. 76%, p <.01). Histologic gastritis of both the antrum and corpus was significantly less frequent (antrum; p <.01, corpus; p <. 01), and serum levels of PGI and the PG I/II ratio were significantly higher in RE patients than in controls (PGI; p <.05, PG I/II ratio; p <.01). When the subjects were divided into two age groups (59 years of age and younger and 60 years of age and older), a significant difference was found only among patients over 60 years of age (29% vs. 85%, p <.01). Among subjects in this age group, gastritis in both the antrum and corpus were significantly milder in RE patients than in controls. Although the prevalence of H. pylori infection was similar between the two groups of patients under 59 years of age, corpus gastritis was significantly milder in patients than in controls (p <.05).
Conclusions: A significantly low prevalence of H. pylori infection was found in RE patients over 60 years of age but not in those under 59 in comparison with sex- and age-matched controls. The relative lack of corpus gastritis might play a role in the pathogenesis of RE in our population through preservation of the acid secretion area.