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Helicobacter. 1999 Dec;4(4):243-8.

Practice patterns for peptic ulcer disease: are family physicians testing for H. pylori?

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Department of Family Medicine, Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New Orleans, USA.



Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) is a problem common in family medicine. Recent evidence of Helicobacter pylori as an etiological agent of PUD has led to National Institutes of Health recommendations for treatment to eradicate H. pylori through antibiotic therapy. The purpose of this study is to examine practice patterns of family physicians in treating PUD, their use of H. pylori testing, and knowledge of current recommendations for PUD.


A mail survey was sent to a random sample of 1,500 members of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Six hundred thirty useable surveys (49.1%) were available for analysis. Descriptive statistics were obtained, as were inferential statistics focusing on the relationship of physician background characteristics to practices.


Thirty-eight percent of the respondents order diagnostic procedures for the majority (50% or more) of their suspected PUD cases. Of the physicians who reported ordering any diagnostic tests, 52% ordered the combination of upper gastrointestinal series and endoscopic gastroduodenoscopy. For patients with clinical diagnoses of PUD, 77% of doctors reported ordering a diagnostic test for H. pylori. Approximately 68% were aware that some kind of guidelines existed; only 11% reported that they were familiar with the National Institutes of Health recommendations for PUD.


Although some of the practices of family physicians for treatment of PUD deviate from current recommendations, the majority of practices are consistent with current evidence.

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