Objectives: A recent report has suggested an association between Helicobacter pylori eradication and the development of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). We therefore assessed the incidence of GERD among comparable patients having undergone successful versus failed H. pylori eradication in a controlled trial. We also compared the H. pylori strains in the subjects that developed GERD to those that did not.
Methods: Patients with a history of proven duodenal ulcer and H. pylori infection were randomised into a H. pylori eradication study. Patients subsequently underwent gastroscopy with gastric biopsies every 3 months for 1 yr. At each visit, the presence of GERD symptoms and endoscopic esophagitis were noted, and the incidence of these variables among patients in whom H. pylori eradication was successful was compared to those in whom it was not. In a subgroup, the presence of the cagA, cagE, and vacA genotypes and of cagA antibodies were determined.
Results: Of 98 patients randomized into this study, 11 dropped out before determination of H. pylori eradication, leaving 87 patients with analyzable results. H. pylori eradication was successful in 63 (72%). By the end of the follow-up period, patients with GERD symptoms or endoscopic esophagitis were more prevalent in the successful than in the failed eradication group (37% [95% CI: 25-50%] vs 13% [95% CI: 3-32%], p = 0.04, 95% CI for the difference: 6-42%), as were patients with GERD symptoms alone (29% [95% CI: 18-41%] vs 8% [95% CI: 1-27%], p = 0.04, 95% CI for the difference: 4-36%) or esophagitis alone (21% [95% CI: 12-33%] vs 4% [95% CI: 0-21%], p = 0.10, 95% CI for the difference: 4-29%, respectively). Multivariate analysis revealed no significant association between the incidence of symptoms or esophagitis and age, gender, Quetelet index, caffeine or alcohol intake, smoking, weight change, or the presence of a hiatus hernia. There were also no differences in the prevalence of H. pylori genotypes from patients who developed GERD as compared to those who did not.
Conclusions: In this patient population, the incidence of new GERD-type symptoms or endoscopic esophagitis was greater in patients in whom successful eradication was achieved. This difference does not appear to be attributable to weight gain, habits, or specific H. pylori strains.