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Recurrence of Helicobacter pylori infection 1 year after successful treatment: prospective cohort study in the Republic of Yemen

Gunaid, Abdallah Aa; Hassan, Nageeb AGMb; Murray-Lyon, Iain Mc

European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology: December 2004 - Volume 16 - Issue 12 - p 1309-1314
Original Articles: Helicobacter

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.

Departments of aMedicine and bClinical Pharmacology, Al-Thawra Teaching Hospital, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Sana'a, Sana'a, Republic of Yemen, and cGastrointestinal Unit, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, UK.

Correspondence to Dr Iain M. Murray-Lyon, 149 Harley Street, London W1G 6DE, UK. Fax: +44 (0)20 7935 7017; e-mail:

Received 7 August 2002 Revised 7 April 2003 Accepted 31 March 2004

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.