Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy in central Australian aborigines

Med J Aust. 1994 Feb 21;160(4):182-4.


Objectives: To examine the upper gastrointestinal endoscopic findings in Australian Aborigines in central Australia; to determine if peptic ulceration occurs in this group; and to discover whether this population shares Helicobacter pylori as a risk factor for peptic ulceration.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of the records of all Aboriginal patients undergoing endoscopy at a general hospital over a two-year period.

Results: Eighty-five endoscopies were performed in 64 patients. Haematemesis and melaena was the indication for 24 patients (more commonly in men) and a cause was identified in 83% of these patients; varices were the cause in 17%. Pain was an indication for 25 patients (more commonly in females) and abnormalities were detected in 64%. Peptic ulceration was found in nine patients and a further 23 had gastritis or duodenitis. Cases of oesophageal, gastric and duodenal malignancy were seen, as well as late complications of simple diseases, including gastric outlet obstruction, oesophageal stricture and cholecystoduodenal fistula formation. Of 17 gastric biopsies with evidence of inflammation, H. pylori was found in 15 (88%).

Conclusion: This, the first study of upper gastrointestinal endoscopy in Aborigines, shows its usefulness in the investigation of their gastrointestinal complaints. Oesophageal varices were found to be an important cause of bleeding. Peptic ulceration associated with H. pylori was found to be common.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / ethnology
  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Duodenal Diseases / complications
  • Duodenal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Duodenal Diseases / ethnology
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal*
  • Esophageal Diseases / complications
  • Esophageal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Esophageal Diseases / ethnology*
  • Esophagoscopy
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / ethnology
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Helicobacter pylori / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander*
  • Peptic Ulcer / complications
  • Peptic Ulcer / diagnosis
  • Peptic Ulcer / ethnology
  • Peptic Ulcer / microbiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stomach Diseases / complications
  • Stomach Diseases / diagnosis
  • Stomach Diseases / ethnology*
  • Stomach Diseases / microbiology