Objective: Although the role of Helicobacter pylori in the pathogenesis of peptic ulcer disease and antral gastritis has been well documented, the role of H. pylori in esophageal disease has not been clearly defined. To clarify this issue, we analyzed 141 patients with histologically confirmed esophageal disease.
Methods: The study group consisted of 82 patients with Barrett's esophagus, 19 with adenocarcinoma of the esophagus arising in columnar epithelium and 40 patients with reflux esophagitis without columnar metaplasia of the esophagus. In each of these cases the presence or absence of H. pylori was assessed histologically.
Results: H. pylori was present in 19 of 82 patients (23%) with Barrett's esophagus, but was absent in all patients with adenocarcinoma of the esophagus and in patients with reflux esophagitis without Barrett's metaplasia. H. pylori was found only in areas of gastric type metaplasia in the patients with Barrett's esophagus. All of the 19 Barrett's esophagus group with H. pylori had chronic inflammation, and in 16 the inflammation was severe. H. pylori was significantly associated with severity of inflammation in patients with Barrett's esophagus (p < 0.001). Members of the Barrett's group with evidence of moderate to severe dysplasia were negative for H. pylori.
Conclusion: These data confirm that the presence of gastric type mucosa within the esophagus is a prerequisite for H. pylori colonization, and that H. pylori may contribute to the severity of inflammation in Barrett's epithelium.