Background: Helicobacter pylori infection induces atrophic body gastritis, but the long-term effect of its cure on body atrophy is unclear.
Aim: To investigate the long-term effects of H. pylori cure on gastric morpho-functional parameters in patients with atrophic body gastritis.
Methods: Forty patients with atrophic body gastritis were cured of H. pylori infection. Gastroscopy with biopsies, gastrin and pepsinogen I levels and basal and stimulated acid secretion were evaluated before and 6-12 months after treatment.
Results: At eradication assessment (6-12 months), in eight of the 40 patients, body atrophy was no longer observed, whereas in 32 of the 40 it remained substantially unchanged (2.03 +/- 0.12 vs. 1.83 +/- 0.15). In the eight patients with reversed body atrophy, gastrinaemia decreased significantly with respect to pre-treatment values (265 +/- 59.9 pg/mL vs. 51.8. +/- 6.04 pg/mL), and basal and stimulated acid secretion increased significantly after cure. In the 32 patients still presenting body atrophy, gastrinaemia was similar topre-treatment values (457 +/- 76.04 pg/mL vs. 335.1 +/- 58.8 pg/mL). At follow-up (21-25 and 32-70 months), the eight patients with reversed body atrophy continued with normal gastrinaemia (35.3 +/- 10.1 pg/mL vs. 38.5 +/- 8.8 pg/mL), but in the 19 patients with continued atrophy, both corporal atrophy and intestinal metaplasia remained substantially unchanged.
Conclusions: Following successful treatment in patients with atrophic body gastritis and H. pylori infection, long-term histological investigations are crucial in order to detect reversed body damage or to confirm continued body atrophy.