Helicobacter pylori infection is a cause of great confusion amongst the medical profession and the public. What do you do with a patient who tests positive for the bug but has no symptoms? Here, Anne Duggan shares her approach to the problem.
- ‘Abnormal’ test results create patient anxiety. Consider whether you would treat a positive result in your patient before you order the test.
- Treatment of H. pylori infection does have benefits. Known benefits include cure of peptic ulcer disease (in the absence of NSAIDs), and cure of the very rare MALT (mucosa associated lymphoid tissue) lymphoma. A reduced risk of gastric cancer is a possible benefit, but there are no data to support this. Most studies suggest there is no benefit from the eradication of H. pylori for symptoms of nonulcer dyspepsia.