Approach to Helicobacter pylori infection in geriatric population

World J Gastrointest Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Aug 6;5(3):139-47. doi: 10.4292/wjgpt.v5.i3.139.


The prevalence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and its complications increase with age. The majority of infected individuals remain asymptomatic throughout the life but 10%-20% develops peptic ulcer disease and 1% gastric malignancies. The incidence of ulcers and their complications are more common in the older population resulting in higher hospitalization and mortality rates. The increased use of medications causing gastric mucosal damage and the decreased secretion of protective prostaglandins in elderly are major factors increasing gastric mucosal sensitivity to the destructive effects of H. pylori. Due to higher prevalence of gastrointestinal (GI) malignancies, upper GI endoscopy is mostly preferred in elderly for the diagnosis of infection. Therefore, "endoscopy and treat" strategy may be more appropriate instead of "test and treat" strategy for dyspeptic patients in older age. Urea breath test and stool antigen test can be used for control of eradication, except for special cases requiring follow-up with endoscopy. The indications for treatment and suggested eradication regimens are similar with other age groups; however, the eradication failure may be a more significant problem due to high antibiotic resistance and low compliance rate in elderly. Multidrug usage and drug interactions should always be considered before starting the treatment. This paper reviews briefly the epidemiology, diagnosis, disease manifestations, and treatment options of H. pylori in the geriatric population.

Keywords: Diagnosis; Elderly; Epidemiology; Eradication; Geriatric population; Geriatrics; Helicobacter pylori; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Review