The aim of this study was to investigate whether elevated blood lead level (BLL) is a risk factor for Helicobacter pylori infection. Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy was performed on 2,625 subjects who visited a university hospital for general health examination. H. pylori infection was detected using histologic examination with Giemsa staining, and BLLs were measured. The mean BLL was 2.83 ± 1.31 μg/dL. The prevalence of H. pylori infection was 27.8%. The BLL was significantly higher in the H. pylori infection-positive group compared to the non-infected group (2.96 ± 1.33 μg/dL vs. 2.78 ± 1.30 μg/dL, p < 0.001), which remained significant after adjusting for other confounders. H. pylori infection significantly increased as the BLL increased (OR: 1.143, 95% CI 1.068-1.223). We found a relationship between BLL elevation and H. pylori infection rate.
Keywords: Helicobacter pylori; Gastric cancer; heavy metal; lead.