Background: Eradication of Helicobacter pylori prior to Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) has been advocated as a measure to reduce the complications of anastomotic ulceration. However, evidence to support a causal relationship between preoperative H. pylori status and postoperative anastomotic ulceration is weak.
Methods: Intraoperative gastric biopsies were obtained on consecutive patients who underwent laparoscopic RYGB at our institution from December 2007 to June 2010. These samples were analyzed by Warthin-Starry stain for H. Pylori organisms. Retrospective chart review was conducted to determine the preoperative presence of acid dyspepsia and acid suppression therapy and to determine postoperative ulcer symptoms, smoking, NSAID or steroid use, and compliance with ulcer prophylaxis. The incidence of ulcer visualization, perforation, and stricture were obtained from a prospectively collected database. Fisher's exact test was used for analyzing associations between discrete groups. Multiple logistic regression was used to assess associations between anastomotic ulcer complications and potential predictors.
Results: Histologic evaluation for H. pylori was available in 708 of the 728 patients who underwent RYGB. Fourteen patients were lost to follow up leaving 694 patients available for review. H. pylori was positive in 66 (9.5 %) patients who did not go on to receive definitive treatment for eradication. Marginal ulcers or related late complications were seen in a total of 113 (16.3 %) patients. In the H. pylori positive group, five patients (7.6 %) developed ulcer complications compared to 108 (17.1 %) in the H. pylori negative group (p = 0.05). Groups were not different in terms of preoperative demographics, postoperative ulcer prophylaxis compliance, steroid, NSAIDs, and cigarette use.
Conclusion: The presence of H. pylori infection at the time of RYGB was found to be associated with a significantly lower incidence of anastomotic ulcer complications postoperatively. This study brings into question efforts and expense allocated to identify and eradicate H. pylori prior to RYGB.
Keywords: Bariatric; Complications; Obesity; Ulcer.