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Real-time assessment of H. pylori during the endoscopic assessment of individuals with gastric intestinal metaplasia: a possible way to reduce the burden of care.

OBJECTIVES: The management of individuals with gastric intestinal metaplasia (GIM) includes biopsies for its staging and to diagnose Helicobacter pylori (Hp). Advanced-stage GIM can be estimated by endoscopy through EGGIM, and a new device permits the real-time assessment of ammonia for the identification of Hp infection. The aim of this study was to assess the simultaneous use of EGGIM and real-time assessment of ammonia to avoid biopsies and reduce the burden of care in clinical practice.

METHODS: A multicentre study involving 101 consecutively enrolled patients [52% male; 65(18-85) years]. During endoscopy, gastric juice was aspirated and analysed; EGGIM was determined in real-time. Targeted biopsies were performed and histopathological assessment was used as gold standard.

RESULTS: Advanced-stage GIM were detected in 14.9% of patients and Hp infection in 18.8%. EGGIM showed for advanced-stage GIM a sensitivity, specificity and NPV of 86.7%, 84.9% and 97.3%, whilst real-time assessment of ammonia, 83.3%, 78.2% and 95.4%, respectively. Gastric juice was insufficient in 5 (5.0%). Overall, 64 (67%) patients were correctly diagnosed by EGGIM and real-time assessment of ammonia. If the 47 (49%) patients negative to both assessments would have avoided biopsies, only 4 (4.2%) would have been missed: two with advanced-stage GIM and two with Hp infection.

CONCLUSION: The combination of endoscopic assessment and real-time analysis of Hp allows the exclusion of advanced-stage GIM or Hp infection without the need of biopsies in a significant proportion of individuals. This may allow in specific situations to abstain from biopsies reducing the burden of care.

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