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Helicobacter. 2004 Jun;9(3):249-54.

The prevalence of peptic ulcer not related to Helicobacter pylori or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use is negligible in southern Europe.

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Service of Gastroenterology, Hospital ClĂ­nico, Zaragoza, Spain.



Helicobacter pylori is the major cause of peptic ulcer disease, but the proportion of H. pylori-negative peptic ulcers seems to be increasing in developed countries. We investigated the frequency of H. pylori-negative peptic ulcer without intake of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in a Mediterranean European country.


We prospectively collected consecutive patients with an endoscopically verified active peptic ulcer over 6 months from different areas of Spain. Helicobacter pylori infection was assessed by rapid urease test and histologic examination (corpus and antral biopsies). A (13)C-urea breath test was performed if H. pylori was not detected with the invasive test. Patients were considered H. pylori-negative if all three tests were negative. NSAID use was determined by structured data collection.


Of 754 consecutive peptic ulcer patients, 16 (2.1%) were H. pylori-negative and had not used NSAIDs before the diagnosis. Of the 472 patients who had duodenal ulcers, 95.7% (n = 452) were H. pylori-positive and only 1.69% (n = 8) were negative for both H. pylori infection and NSAID use; 193 patients had benign gastric ulcers and 87% (n = 168) of them were infected by H. pylori (p <.001 vs. duodenal ulcers). NSAID intake was more frequent in gastric ulcer patients (52.8%) than in duodenal ulcer patients (25.4%; p <.001). Consequently, the frequency of H. pylori-negative gastric ulcer in patients not using NSAID was 4.1% (n = 8).


Peptic ulcer disease is still highly associated with H. pylori infection in southern Europe, and only 1.6% of all duodenal ulcers and 4.1% of all gastric ulcers were not associated with either H. pylori infection or NSAID use.

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