Background & aims: The role of Helicobacter pylori in the pathogenesis of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is unknown. We determined the prevalence of cagA-positive (cagA+) H. pylori strains in patients with GERD or its complications compared with controls of similar age.
Methods: A total of 153 consecutive patients with GERD, Barrett's esophagus, and Barrett's esophagus complicated by dysplasia or adenocarcinoma were compared with 57 controls who underwent upper endoscopy for reasons other than GERD. H. pylori infection and CagA antibody status were determined by histology and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results: H. pylori prevalence was lower (34%) in patients with GERD and its sequelae than in the control group (45.6%)(P = 0.15). Regardless of the group, increasing age was associated with higher prevalence of H. pylori (P = 0.003). When compared with controls (42.3%), the prevalence of cagA+ H. pylori strains decreased (P = 0.008) in patients with more severe complications of GERD (GERD, 36.7% [nonerosive GERD, 41.2%; erosive GERD, 30.8%]; Barrett's esophagus, 13.3%; and Barrett's with adenocarcinoma/dysplasia, 0%).
Conclusions: Prevalence of H. pylori in patients with GERD and its sequelae was lower but not significantly different than that of a control group. However, patients carrying cagA+ strains of H. pylori may be protected against the complications of GERD, especially Barrett's esophagus and its associated dysplasia and adenocarcinoma.