Objectives: Helicobacter pylori infection and atrophic gastritis are related to an increased risk for gastric cancer. There is a decrease in global H. pylori prevalence. We analyzed the prevalence of H. pylori infection in Latvia by the plasma IgG test and the presence of atrophy by means of pepsinogen testing.
Methods: This subanalysis was carried out on a randomly selected cross-sectional sample of a general population of adults to access cardiovascular risk factors. Plasma samples were screened for H. pylori IgG (cutoff value 24 U/ml), and pepsinogens (Pg) I and II. Pg cutoff values of PgI/PgII ≤ 3 and PgI ≤ 70 ng/ml were used to assess the prevalence of atrophy of any grade and PgI/PgII ≤ 2 and PgI ≤ 30 ng/ml for advanced atrophy.
Results: Altogether, 3564 serum samples were available for the study (2346 women, 1218 men; median age 54 years). Of the tested individuals, 79.21% were H. pylori positive, with no difference between sexes. The prevalence increased with age (P<0.001). Atrophy of any grade was identified in 1444 individuals (40.52%) and advanced atrophy in 475 individuals (13.33%). Linear association with age was present in both response types (P<0.001). The prevalence of atrophy of any grade was higher in women (41.73%) than in men (38.18%; P=0.04); this difference was lost for advanced atrophy (women 13.98%, men 12.07%; P=0.1).
Conclusion: The prevalence of H. pylori infection or atrophy remains high in Latvia. Determining the right cutoff value is critically important for pepsinogen-based atrophy detection in Europe in order to objectively stratify gastric cancer risk.