Background: The authors evaluate the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori resistance in 117 children and demonstrate the changes over a 4-year period.
Methods: In 117 children and adolescents, H. pylori-positive gastritis was revealed by diagnostic upper endoscopy. Biopsies from the antrum and body of the stomach were tested by histology, urease test, and culture. H. pylori was isolated using standard culture techniques, and susceptibility to amoxicillin, clarithromycin, and metronidazole was tested using the E-test (AB-Biodisk, Sweden).
Results: Endoscopy revealed gastric ulcers in 2 of 117 subjects, duodenal ulcers in 6 of 117, and erosive gastritis or duodenitis in 23 of 117. Almost all patients showed antral nodularity. Histology always showed chronic gastritis with different degrees of activity. During the 4-year study period, the authors noticed an increase of primary clarithromycin-resistant H. pylori strains, from 14.3% to 27.6% (mean, 20.3%). Metronidazole resistance varied between 5% and 25%. No resistance to amoxicillin was found.
Conclusion: Eradication of H. pylori should take place only after testing of susceptibility. The general use of clarithromycin in children should be restricted to better-defined indications. Resistance to clarithromycin of H. pylori may also become a future problem for the treatment of adults.