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Helicobacter pylori and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, C-2104 Medical Center North, Nashville, TN 37232-2279, USA.


Since the rediscovery of Helicobacter pylori two decades ago, it has become increasingly clear that the true relationships between this organism and diseases of the upper gastrointestinal tract are highly complex. H. pylori colonization is a strong risk factor for peptic ulceration and distal gastric cancer; however, gastritis has no adverse consequences for most hosts, and the prevalence of H. pylori is inversely related to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and its sequelae, which include Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma. One clinical implication stemming from these data is that H. pylori eradication may not be appropriate in certain human populations due to potential beneficial effects conferred by persistent gastric inflammation. However, the majority of published intervention trials indicate that H. pylori treatment neither leads to the development of clinically significant de novo esophagitis nor exacerbates existing reflux disease. Superimposed upon these observations are reports that long-term acid suppression induced by proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) in conjunction with H. pylori colonization may enhance the development of atrophic gastritis, a well-recognized histologic step in the progression to intestinal-type gastric cancer. Therefore, current evidence-based recommendations regarding management of H. pylori-positive individuals with GERD include the following. H. pylori should not be treated with the intent to either improve reflux symptoms or prevent the development of reflux complications. However, if patients are to receive long-term acid suppressive therapy, they should be tested for H. pylori and treated if positive, due to the potential for PPIs to accelerate atrophy within H. pylori-infected mucosa. Optimal first-line regimens in this country consist of a PPI in combination with clarithromycin and either amoxicillin or metronidazole (triple therapy) for at least 7, but preferably 10, days. Because the most effective second-line regimens contain metronidazole, it is advisable to use amoxicillin instead of metronidazole as first-line therapy in order to optimize results should subsequent therapy be required. If first-line regimens fail to eliminate H. pylori, patients should receive quadruple therapy consisting of a PPI, bismuth subsalicylate, metronidazole, and tetracycline for 14 days. Due to the availability and accuracy of noninvasive diagnostic tests for H. pylori, it is recommended that successful cure be confirmed after intervention.


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