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Do we eradicate Helicobacter pylori in hospitalized patients with peptic ulcer disease?

BACKGROUND: Helicobacter pylori infection is the most common chronic infection in humans. It is a major contributor to the cause of duodenal and gastric ulcers worldwide. Its eradication has been shown to reduce rates of H pylori-related ulcers as well as other complications such as gastric cancer.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the rate of appropriate treatment in patients following a diagnosis of H pylori infection on biopsy during esophagoduodenoscopy for upper gastrointestinal bleeding over a four-year period at a tertiary centre in Vancouver, British Columbia. Also evaluated was the rate of eradication confirmation using the urea breath test.

METHODS: A retrospective review of 1501 inpatients who underwent esophagoduodenoscopy for upper gastrointestinal bleeding (January 2006 to December 2010) was undertaken. Patients who were biopsy stain positive for H pylori were selected for drug review either via a provincial database (PharmaNet) or via records from patients' family practitioners. Data were also obtained via two provincial laboratories that perform the urea breath test to determine the rates of confirmation of eradication.

RESULTS: Ninety-eight patients had biopsy-proven H pylori. The mean (± SD) age was 56.13±17.9 years and 65 were male. Data were not available for 22 patients; the treatment rate was 52.6% (40 of 76). Of those treated, 12 patients underwent a post-treatment urea breath test for eradication confirmation.

CONCLUSION: There was substantial discrepancy between the number of diagnosed H pylori infections and the rate of treatment as well as confirmation of eradication. Numerous approaches could be taken to improve treatment and eradication confirmation.

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