Background and methods: Upper endoscopy records from 1998 to 2003 were reviewed. The demographic data, endoscopic diagnosis, results of rapid urease test and the absence or presence of intestinal metaplasia (IM) in histology were reviewed, to evaluate the prevalence of IM and Helicobacter pylori (Hp) infection over time in Hong Kong.
Results: Among 1805 endoscopies performed, 1751 had both rapid urease test and histology available. A significant drop in the prevalence of duodenal ulcers from 17.9% in 1998 to 9.8% in 2003 was found (P = 0.015). Prevalence of IM was 13.9%, 5.9% and 9.4% in Hp positive, Hp negative and overall respectively (P < 0.05). The prevalence of IM increased with age, and the patterns were similar amongst subjects in 1998-2000 and those in 2001-2003. There was progressive decrease in Hp prevalence from 58% in 1998 to 40% in 2001 (P = 0.014), but no further decrease was seen in 2002-3. There was no corresponding decrease in IM prevalence. Instead IM prevalence in 2002-2003 was significantly higher than the prevalence in previous few years (P = 0.04).
Conclusion: The prevalence of IM did not change in the period from 1998 to 2003 despite a drop in the prevalence of Hp infection since 1994.