Epidemiology, Clinical Impacts and Current Clinical Management of Helicobacter Pylori Infection

Med J Aust. 2016 Jun 6;204(10):376-80. doi: 10.5694/mja16.00104.


Helicobacter pylori infection is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. More than 50% of the global population is estimated to be infected. Differences in prevalence exist within and between countries, with higher prevalence seen among people with lower socio-economic status. Most transmission of infection occurs early in life, predominantly from person to person in the family setting. H. pylori is the cause of most peptic ulcer disease, gastric cancer and gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma and causes symptoms in a subset of patients with functional dyspepsia. Choice of diagnostic test depends on the clinical context; urea breath tests and endoscopy with biopsy are the major diagnostic tools. Evidence-based indications for eradication of H. pylori infection are well documented. The most widely used and recommended eradication therapy in Australia is triple therapy comprising a proton pump inhibitor, amoxycillin and clarithromycin, usually for 1 week. Effective alternative regimens are available for patients with proven allergy to penicillin. Antimicrobial resistance is the major determinant of the outcome of eradication therapy. Trends in antibiotic resistance need to be monitored locally, but individual patient susceptibility testing is not usually necessary as it rarely guides the choice of therapy. The outcome of treatment should be assessed not less than 4 weeks after therapy. This is usually done with a urea breath test if follow-up endoscopy is not required. When first-line therapy fails, several proven second-line therapies may be used. Repeat first-line therapy and ad hoc regimens should be avoided. Overall cumulative eradication rates should approach 99%.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amoxicillin / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Breath Tests
  • Clarithromycin / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Helicobacter Infections / diagnosis
  • Helicobacter Infections / drug therapy*
  • Helicobacter Infections / epidemiology*
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / microbiology
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Peptic Ulcer / microbiology
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stomach Neoplasms / microbiology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors
  • Amoxicillin
  • Clarithromycin

Supplementary concepts

  • Familial primary gastric lymphoma