[Helicobacter pylori-related diseases: dyspepsia, ulcer and gastric cancer]

Javier P Gisbert
Gastroenterología y Hepatología 2008, 31 Suppl 4: 18-28
The main conclusions drawn from the presentations related to Helicobacter pylori at Digestive Diseases Week 2008 are summarized. Several strains of H. pylori frequently infect the same patient, and consequently samples for culture should be obtained from the gastric antrum and body. The test-and-treat strategy in dyspepsia is as effective as empirical antisecretory therapy and is probably cheaper. The benefit of eradication therapy in patients with uninvestigated dyspepsia, although small, seems to be lasting. Eradication in the general population seems to reduce the development of dyspeptic symptoms in the long term and consequently could be cost-effective. The prevalence of H. pylori infection in peptic ulcer is decreasing and the frequency of idiopathic ulcers is increasing. Patients with H. pylori-negative bleeding ulcers have a high probability of hemorrhagic recurrence and should therefore receive maintenance antisecretory therapy. H. pylori eradication reduces the incidence of gastric adenocarcinoma, which could warrant a screening and treatment strategy for this infection in the general population in high risk areas. H. pylori infection should be eradicated in patients undergoing endoscopic mucosal resection for early gastric cancer. To prevent the development of gastric cancer, eradication therapy should be administered early, before gastric atrophy develops. H. pylori-negative and H. pylori-positive gastric lymphomas have an equally favorable prognosis. New diagnostic techniques have been developed: the ultra-rapid urease test, a simpler 14C-urea breath test, and an ELISA method for rapid bacterial susceptibility determination. In patients with gastrointestinal bleeding, the 13C-urea breath test performed immediately after emergency gastroscopy allows early diagnosis of infection. Eradication regimens with double doses of proton pump inhibitors are more effective than those with standard doses. "Sequential" therapy is more effective and cheaper than classical triple-drug therapy, although the superiority of administering therapy sequentially rather than concomitantly has not been established. In penicillin-allergic patients, a combination with levofloxacin and clarithromycin is a promising alternative in rescue therapy. Second-line rescue therapy with levofloxacin is effective and is also simpler and better tolerated than quadruple-drug therapy. The rate of quinolone resistance is increasing as a result of the widespread use of these antibiotics. Third-line treatment with levofloxacin is also a promising alternative. Even after the failure of three previous treatments, a fourth empirical rescue therapy (with levofloxacin or rifabutin) can be effective in more than half of patients. The annual recurrence rate of H. pylori infection is approximately 3% in developed countries and is higher than 10% in developing countries.

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