Aim: The persistence of chronic inflammation in gastric mucosa and elevated Helicobacter pylori antibodies after successful eradication therapy are common findings in clinical practice. We studied their possible association with each other and disappearance in long-term follow up, as well as their possible connection with gastric atrophy.
Patients and methods: The study population consisted of 108 dyspeptic patients with successful eradication therapy median 6.4 years earlier. The patients underwent gastroscopy, and biopsies from antrum and corpus were evaluated by an experienced pathologist. Serum samples collected from 77 patients were studied for H. pylori antibodies, parietal cell antibodies, as well as for pepsinogen I, pepsinogen II, and gastrin-17 levels.
Results: The prevalence of chronic gastric inflammation and elevated H. pylori antibodies after successful eradication therapy decreased by time, but still after 5 years, 17 of 51 (33%) subjects had elevated H. pylori antibodies and 14 of 68 (21%) had a mild inactive chronic inflammation in gastric mucosa. In patients with and without chronic inflammation in gastric mucosa, elevated H. pylori antibodies were detected in three of 10 (30%) and 14 of 41 (34%), elevated parietal cell antibodies in one of 10 (10%) and six of 41 (15%), low pepsinogen I in one of 10 (10%) and none of 41, and elevated gastrin-17 in three of 10 (30%) and six of 41 (15%), respectively.
Conclusion: More than 5 years after successful H. pylori eradication therapy, mild persistent chronic inflammation may occur in gastric mucosa in up to one-fifth and elevated H. pylori antibodies even in one-third of patients, although these two are independent phenomena.