Background: In the Helicobacter pylori-negative normal stomach, collecting venules are visible in the gastric corpus as numerous minute points. This finding has been termed 'regular arrangement of collecting venules' (RAC). The aim of the present study was to investigate the reliability of the presence of the RAC pattern for discrimination of normal gastric mucosa from H. pylori gastritis in pediatric patients.
Methods: Fifty-two consecutive children, adolescents and young adults (male:female 24 : 28; median age 15 years, range 8-29 years) referred for endoscopy and assessed for H. pylori infection were prospectively studied. The lower lesser curvature of the corpus near the incisura was evaluated for the RAC pattern using a standard endoscope with the tip close to, but not in contact with, the gastric surface. Gastric biopsies were taken after the endoscopic observation.
Results: In all the 29 RAC-positive patients, active H. pylori gastritis was absent, whereas H. pylori gastritis was found in 20 of 23 RAC-negative patients (86.9%).
Conclusions: Identification of the RAC pattern at the lower lesser curvature of the corpus using close observation with a standard endoscope proved to be an effective and practical marker to discriminate normal histology from H. pylori gastritis among both children and young adults. Absence of the RAC pattern should prompt gastric mucosal biopsies despite otherwise normal-appearing gastric mucosa.