To study the relationship between intestinal metaplasia and Helicobacter pylori infection, 2274 gastroscopic antral biopsies taken from 533 patients were examined. Overall, intestinal metaplasia was found in 135 patients (25.3%) and H pylori in 289 patients (54.2%). The prevalence of intestinal metaplasia and H pylori was age related, being more common in patients greater than or equal to 50 years compared with patients less than 50 years (intestinal metaplasia, p less than 0.001 and H pylori, p less than 0.05). Intestinal metaplasia was found more often in H pylori positive patients compared with H pylori negative patients (33.9% v 15.2%, p less than 0.001). The mean age of intestinal metaplasia positive patients who were also H pylori positive was 64 (13.3) years, whereas the mean age of intestinal metaplasia positive patients who were H pylori negative was 72 (14.7) years (p less than 0.005). The extent of intestinal metaplasia was not statistically different in the latter two groups. Although our data do not prove a causal relationship between H pylori infection and the histogenesis of intestinal metaplasia it is suggested that H pylori infection is an important factor in the development of intestinal metaplasia, which is generally recognised as a precursor lesion of intestinal type gastric carcinoma.
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