Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the development of erosive esophagitis, the development of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms in patients without prior symptomatic or endoscopic GERD, and the worsening of GERD symptoms in patients with prior symptomatic GERD in a post hoc analysis of eight double-blind prospective trials of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) therapy in 1165 patients.
Methods: Patients with active or past duodenal ulcer and without baseline erosive esophagitis had end of study endoscopies 4-30 wk after completion of therapy. A total of 533 patients had heartburn and regurgitation scores assessed at baseline and 4 wk after end of therapy, and were divided into two groups: 1) no prior GERD symptoms (N = 127) and 2) prior GERD symptoms (N = 406). H. pylori was assessed at baseline and > or = 4 wk after therapy by rapid urease test, histology, and culture.
Results: Erosive esophagitis developed in 24 (4%) of 621 patients with cure versus 14 (3%) of 544 with persistent H. pylori (OR = 1.52, 95% CI = 0.78-2.97). In the longest study (28-30-wk follow-up), esophagitis developed in two (7%) of 28 patients with cure versus five (7%) of 76 with persistent infection. New GERD symptoms developed in 13 (14%) of 92 patients with cure versus seven (20%) of 35 with persistent infection (OR = 0.66,95% CI = 0.24-1.82). GERD worsened in 20 (7%) of 269 with cure vs 20 (15%) of 137 with persistent H. pylori (OR = 0.47, 95% CI = 0.24-0.91; p = 0.02).
Conclusions: Our results do not support the hypothesis that H. pylori eradication in patients with duodenal ulcer disease leads to the development of erosive esophagitis, the development of new symptomatic GERD, or worsening of symptoms in patients with pre-existing GERD.