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Dig Dis Sci. 1997 Sep;42(9):1821-34.

Recurrence of Helicobacter pylori infection after successful eradication: nature and possible causes.

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Department of Medicine, Nepean Hospital, The University of Sidney, Penrith, NSW, Australia.


Recurrence of Helicobacter pylori infection after successful eradication occurs and is associated with relapse of gastroduodenal diseases. The aims of this paper were to assess the incidence and identify the nature and possible causes of recurrence of the infection. A broad-based Medline search was performed to identify all related publications addressing recurrence of the infection between 1986 and 1995. The 12-month recurrence rate varied among the different studies from 0 to 41.5%. A few studies showed 18- to 24-month recurrence rates, which ranged between 0 and 21.4%. Limited data, obtained using molecular fingerprinting techniques, have shown that in most cases recurrence is due to recrudescence of the original strain; a few cases appear to be due to reinfection with a new strain. Recrudescence is most likely during the first 12 months after apparent eradication. Despite the high sensitivity and specificity of the available individual tests for detecting H. pylori infection in untreated patients, no technique alone is sensitive enough to monitor eradication when the four-week-rule definition for eradication is used. A combination of two or more techniques increases sensitivity. Sensitivity and specificity are increased when biopsies are taken from both gastric antrum and corpus. The best treatments have the lowest recurrence rates and recurrence is rare when the eradication rate is over 90%. Individual susceptibility and reexposure to H. pylori are suggested as two major causes of reinfection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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