Background: The study is a 12-year endoscopic follow-up investigation on the course of chronic gastritis and Helicobacter pylori infection in a sample of 81 Estonian people.
Methods: The series is a subset from a random sample of 227 subjects in whom a gastroduodenal endoscopy had been done. The grade of superficial gastritis (SG), atrophy, and colonization of the mucosa by H. pylori was evaluated in biopsy specimens from both antrum and corpus in accordance with the principles of the Sydney System.
Results: The healing rate of the H. pylori and gastritis was 0.3% (3 of 81); H. pylori colonization with gastritis developed in 5 of 81 during the follow-up. The mean prevalence of atrophic gastritis (AG) was three times more common in the corpus than in the antrum on the average. The formation of new cases of AG and the disappearance of AG were quite equal during the follow-up, and the overall changes in the grade of SG and atrophy were slow. The mean life span of corpus AG was nearly three times as long as that of antrum AG. In the antrum the grade of chronic inflammation correlated positively with the grade of H. pylori colonization. In cases of SG a low grade of colonization of H. pylori in the antral mucosa in connection with moderate inflammation predicted a reduction or even a healing of gastritis in the long term.
Conclusions: New H. pylori infections with subsequent gastritis may occur in adulthood; a healing of gastritis occurs but is a quite rare event in the course of the 12-year follow-up. Further, in the present random sample of Estonian people atrophic corpus gastritis did not show an overall progression, in contrast to our earlier findings.