Background: Strains of Helicobacter pylori with the cytotoxine-associated gene A (cagA) are linked to severe forms of gastroduodenal disease. Although eradication of H. pylori may predispose to the development of reflux esophagitis, the effects of CagA status on risk of esophagitis after successful H. pylori treatment are not known.
Methods: We studied 50 consecutive patients without esophagitis in whom H. pylori was eradicated successfully. CagA status was determined by immunoblotting sera from patients against H. pylori antigens. Patients underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy before eradication and 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after eradication or when reflux symptoms occurred. Biopsy specimens of the antrum and corpus were evaluated for gastritis before H. pylori eradication and at the end of the study. The sum of the scores for acute and chronic inflammation (both measured on a 0 [absent] to 3 [severe] scale) comprised the total gastritis severity score.
Results: In a multivariate proportional hazards regression analysis, positive CagA serology (hazard ratio [HR] = 10, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.3 to 81) and moderate-to-severe corpus gastritis (total severity score > or =4) before eradication (HR = 2.3, 95% CI: 1.2 to 6.1) were independent risk factors for the development of esophagitis after H. pylori eradication.
Conclusion: Patients infected with strains of H. pylori that are cagA-positive are at increased risk of developing esophagitis after eradication of H. pylori.