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Low Prevalence of Helicobacter pylori-Positive Peptic Ulcers in Private Outpatient Endoscopy Centers in the United States.

OBJECTIVES: During the past decades, the prevalence of gastric and duodenal ulcers, as well as Helicobacter pylori infection, has markedly declined. We hypothesized that the decline in H. pylori prevalence has decreased the fraction of H. pylori-positive gastric and duodenal ulcers. The present study was designed to test this hypothesis in a large US population undergoing esophagogastro-duodenoscopy in community-based endoscopy centers.

METHODS: The Inform Diagnostics database is a national electronic repository of histopathologic records of patients distributed throughout the United States. A cross-sectional study among 1,289,641 individual esophagogastro-duodenoscopy patients analyzed the prevalence of peptic ulcers stratified by age, sex, ethnicity, H. pylori status, year of diagnosis, and ulcer type. The joint influence of multiple predictor variables on the occurrence of gastric and duodenal ulcers was analyzed using multivariate logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS: Between 2009 and 2018, the general prevalence of H. pylori infection fell significantly from 11% to 9%. This decline was accompanied by a similar decline in the fraction of H. pylori-positive gastric ulcers from 17% to 14% and H. pylori-positive duodenal ulcers from 25% to 21%. Nowadays, only 17% of all patients with ulcer harbor H. pylori. The fraction of H. pylori-positive ulcers was significantly greater in duodenal than in gastric ulcers and in male than in female patients with ulcer. The prevalence of H. pylori was 2.6-fold higher among Hispanics and 3.2-fold higher among East Asians compared with the general population. The H. pylori prevalence fell from 24% to 22% among Hispanics and from 21% to 15% among East Asians. In East Asians and Hispanics, the fraction of H. pylori-positive gastric ulcers was 37% and 35%, respectively.

DISCUSSION: H. pylori infection continues to fall in the general population. Nowadays, even among patients with ulcer only a small minority harbors H. pylori infection.

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