Table of Contents
Volume 2012, Article ID 896509, 9 pages
Review Article

Update on Peptic Ulcers in the Pediatric Age

Unit of Gastroenterology, Digestive Endoscopy, Hepatology, and Care of the Child with Liver Transplantation, Department of Woman and Child Health, University Hospital of Padova, Via Giustiniani 2, 35128 Padova, Italy

Received 11 August 2012; Accepted 4 September 2012

Academic Editor: Joachim Labenz

Copyright © 2012 Graziella Guariso and Marco Gasparetto. 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.


Background. Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) in children is reported worldwide, although it is relatively rare as compared with adults. Helicobacter pylori (HP) infection is a common cause of PUD in the pediatric age. Other risk factors include the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs), steroids, immunosuppressive drugs, and stressful events. Aim. To critically review the evidence on epidemiology, diagnostic management, and available treatments for PUD in the pediatric age. Methods. A MEDLINE search was performed indicating keywords as “Peptic Ulcer Disease,” “Epidemiology,” “Pediatric,” “Helicobacter pylori,” “Gastric ulcer,” “Bulbar Ulcer,” and “Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding.” A selection of clinical trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses within the time period 2002–2012 was performed. Results. PUD in children is reported worldwide with an estimated frequency of 8.1% in Europe and of 17.4% in the US. When the underlying cause of PUD is addressed, the prognosis is excellent. Standard triple therapy, bismuth-based quadruple therapy, and the sequential therapy represent the current recommended treatments for HP related ulcers. NSAIDs related ulcers are treated by stopping the causative medications and by administration of proton-pump inhibitors or antisecretory drugs. Conclusions. PUD still represents a major concern in the paediatric age. A careful differential diagnosis and an adequate treatment constitute an excellent prognosis.