Objectives: To investigate the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection in dyspeptic patients in the Republic of Yemen and the recurrence rate 1 year after apparently successful eradication.
Methods: A total of 275 patients with chronic dyspepsia seen in one clinic were enrolled. Gastric biopsies were obtained at endoscopy and H. pylori infection was diagnosed using the rapid urease test. Patients with H. pylori infection were given either clarithromycin or metronidazole-based triple therapy. Six weeks later H. pylori status was assessed using the 13C-urea breath test (13C-UBT). Those who were negative for H. pylori had a further 13C-UBT after 1 year to establish the recurrence rate.
Results: The prevalence of H. pylori infection at entry to the study was 82.2% [95% confidence interval (CI) 78–87%]. The overall eradication rate 6 weeks after treatment was 49.1% (95% CI 42.6–55.6%) by intention-to-treat analysis, and 60% (95% CI 53–67%) by per-protocol analysis. Recurrence rate of H. pylori infection at 1 year was 34% (95% CI 14–45%) and the only predictor of recurrence was an excess delta 13C-UBT value less than 3.5 per million but equal to or greater than 2.5 per million at 6 weeks after treatment (odds ratio 2.28; 95% CI 1.17–4.44; P = 0.028).
Conclusion: The prevalence of H. pylori infection in dyspeptic patients in Yemen is very high, the eradication rate with standard triple therapy was unsatisfactory probably because of widespread bacterial resistance due to unrestricted antibiotic use. The recurrence rate of infection at 1 year was high, as a result of recrudescence of incompletely eradicated organisms rather than reinfection.