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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 15, Issue 4, Pages 251-255

Update on the Role of H pylori Infection in Gastrointestinal Disorders

Hugh Chaun

Division of Gastroenterology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Received 20 August 1999; Accepted 3 September 1999

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Infection with Helicobacter pylori is accepted as the primary cause of peptic ulcer disease, and there is evidence to suggest its role in other gastrointestinal disorders. An estimated 20% to 40% of the Canadian population is infected with H pylori; however, clinically relevant disease is present in only approximately 10% to 20% of these individuals. Therefore, it is crucial to identify the diseases for which eradication of H pylori is beneficial to ensure that patients do not receive unnecessary treatment. In patients with ulcers induced by long term treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, preliminary results suggest that eradication of H pylori may reduce the risk of peptic ulcer bleeding. Furthermore, a benefit has been observed for the eradication of H pylori before patients commence therapy with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. An association between the presence of H pylori and specific dyspeptic symptoms has yet to be established; however, there may be a subset of patients with functional dyspepsia who benefit from the eradication of H pylori. The relationship between gastroesophageal reflux disorder and H pylori infection remains unclear. In Canada, the recommended therapy for the eradication of H pylori is seven days of twice-daily treatment with a proton pump inhibitor, clarithromycin, and amoxicillin or metronidazole. Although the proton pump inhibitors are treated as a class for use in these regimens, there is suggestion that a faster onset of action may lead to a higher rate of eradication.