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Feature Article

Helicobacter pylori infection: when to search for it and how to diagnose it

Lay T Gan, Anne Duggan

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Abstract

Helicobacter pylori infection accounts for up to 90% of duodenal ulcers and about 70% of gastric ulcers. Most infected individuals do not develop clinically significant disease, so it is important to know when to diagnose and treat H. pylori infection.

Key Points

  • Helicobacter pylori is usually acquired in early childhood through close contact with an infected person, and the infection persists for life unless treated.
  • H. pylori infection accounts for up to 90% of duodenal ulcers and about 70% of gastric ulcers.
  • Most individuals infected with H. pylori do not develop clinically significant disease during their lifetime.
  • Proton pump inhibitor (PPI)-based triple therapy for seven days is highly effective and successfully eradicates H. pylori infection in more than 90% of cases.
  • In most cases of ulcer disease, long-term PPI therapy is not warranted once H. pylori infection has been eradicated.

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