The long-term clinical outcome of elderly patients with Helicobacter pylori-associated peptic ulcer disease.
Pilotto A. Franceschi M. Di Mario F. Leandro G. Bozzola L. Valerio G.
Department of Geriatrics, S. Bortolo Hospital, Vicenza, Italy.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the long-term efficacy of Helicobacter pylori (HP) eradication treatment in elderly patients with HP-associated peptic ulcer. A total of 56 subjects, 25 affected with gastric ulcer (GU, 9 males, 16 females, mean age 77.8 years, range 67-93) and 31 with duodenal ulcer (DU, 19 males, 12 females, mean age 76.5 years, range 65-87) were confirmed to be HP-positive by gastric histology and the rapid urease test. All patients were then consecutively treated with omeprazole for 4 weeks plus one or two antibiotics for 1 week as anti-HP treatment. Clinical checkups were then performed every 3 months for 1 year for the evaluation of symptoms and clinical recurrences. Endoscopy with gastric biopsies was repeated after 1, 3 and 12 months for the evaluation of ulcer healing, HP infection and chronic gastritis activity. Statistical analysis was performed by means of the Student t test for unpaired data, the Fisher exact test (two-tailed), and the McNemar chi 2 test. After 4 weeks of treatment, endoscopy confirmed healing of the ulcer in all patients, regardless of the treatment used to cure HP infection. Two months after the end of therapy, a total of 44 patients were HP-negative and 12 patients were still HP-positive. During the 1-year follow-up period 1/44 (2.2%) of the HP-eradicated patients and 5/12 (41.6%) of the still HP-positive patients suffered relapses (p = 0.001): the difference between the two groups remained statistically significant when patients were divided into the subgroups, GU (p = 0.01) and DU (p = 0.04). Two months after the end of therapy, there was still a significant reduction of symptoms both in HP-eradicated (p < 0.0000) and in HP-positive (p = 0.002) patients. After 1 year, however, there was a significantly decreased symptomatology only in HP-eradicated subjects (p < 0.0000) and not in patients still HP-positive. After both 2 months and 1 year of follow-up, chronic gastritis activity demonstrated a significant improvement only in HP-eradicated patients (p = 0.0000). In conclusion, the eradication of HP infection significantly improved the long-term clinical outcome of peptic ulcer disease in the elderly, reducing the recurrences of GU and DU, the patient's symptomatology and the histological signs of chronic gastritis activity. The cure of HP infection is, therefore, strongly recommended in elderly patients with HP-associated peptic ulcer disease.