Objective: Whether gastric atrophy or intestinal metaplasia heals after successful treatment of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection is still a matter of controversy. The aim of this article was to clarify whether, after one year, H. pylori eradication is associated with healing in glandular atrophy and intestinal metaplasia in the corpus and antrum.
Material and methods: Ninety-two H. pylori-positive peptic ulcer patients with atrophic gastritis (panatrophy, antral or corpus predominant) participated in the baseline study, 1-year prospective follow-up data being available from 76 patients. Mean age was 58+/-12.6 years (mean+/-SD) and the male/female ratio 2/1. The patients participated in an H. pylori eradication study in which they randomly received active eradication therapy. Endoscopy was performed before H. pylori eradication therapy and after 8 and 52 weeks, with specimens examined according to the Sydney system.
Results: Of the 92 patients, 8 (9%) had panatrophy, 58 (63%) had antral- and 26 (28%) had corpus-predominant atrophic gastritis. After H. pylori eradication, the mean atrophy score declined in patients with antral-predominant atrophy from 1.5 (mean) to 0.7 (p<0.05), in corpus-predominant atrophy from 1.7 to 0.2 (p=NS) and in patients with panatrophy from 1.2 to 0.8 (p=NS). Atrophy healing was seen in 55% of antral-predominant atrophy patients who had successful H. pylori eradication. The mean antral atrophic score in one year declined in patients with duodenal ulcer (from 1.0 mean to 0.4) whereas it remained the same (1.3) in those with gastric ulcer (p<0.05).
Conclusions: Atrophy can diminish or even disappear, especially in the antrum, during a 1-year follow-up after eradication of infection. Atrophy progression seems milder in patients with duodenal ulcer than in patients with gastric ulcer.