Objective: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a multifactorial disorder characterized by reflux of acidic gastric contents into the esophagus leading to tissue damage and symptoms. The role of H. pylori in the pathogenesis of GERD is controversial. Therefore, we performed a meta-analysis on the effect of H. pylori treatment on symptomatic as well as endoscopic changes associated with GERD.
Material and methods: Multiple medical databases were searched (4/2011). Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing H. pylori treatment with no treatment on symptomatic adults with GERD were included. The effects of H. pylori eradication were analyzed by calculating pooled estimates for new onset or changes in the symptoms of GERD or endoscopic reflux esophagitis. Separate analyses were performed for each outcome by using odds ratio (OR) or weighted mean difference (WMD) by fixed and random effects models. Publication bias was assessed by funnel plots. Heterogeneity among studies was assessed by calculating I² measure of inconsistency.
Results: Ten trials met the inclusion criteria. No statistically significant effect was found for symptomatic GERD (OR 0.81, 95% CI 0.56-1.17, p = 0.27) or endoscopic evidence of reflux esophagitis (OR 1.13; 95% CI: 0.72-1.78, p = 0.59) between the two groups. A subgroup analysis of eradication data revealed a statistically significant lower incidence of GERD symptoms in the eradicated group (13.8%) compared with the non-eradicated group (24.9%) (OR 0.55; 95% CI: 0.35-0.87, p = 0.01). Funnel plot revealed no publication bias.
Conclusions: Treatment of H. pylori does not seem to increase GERD symptoms or reflux esophagitis. However, documented eradication of H. pylori appears to significantly improve GERD symptoms.