Background

Helicobacter pylori is a spiral bacterium which specifically colonizes gastric mucosa. It is able to survive in a near neutral pH through the production of urease. H. pylori infection has been correlated with the formation of peptic ulcers. This association was first suggested in 1984. Several lines of evidence link H. pylori to peptic ulceration.

• First, eradication of H. pylori, without the suppression of acid, leads to ulcer healing rates that are similar to those of acid suppression therapy alone.

• Secondly, relapse of duodenal ulceration after antimicrobial treatment is preceded by reinfection of gastric mucosa.

• Additionally, the prevalence of H. pylori in patients with duodenal ulceration is near 100%. Patients with gastric ulcers have a prevalence of H. pylori in the range of 60-80%. Comparatively, Helicobacter colonizes approximately 20% of those without peptic ulcer disease.

Consequently, the evaluation for and the treatment of Helicobacter infection is an integral part of the treatment of peptic ulcer disease.

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