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Acute perforated duodenal ulcer is not associated with Helicobacter pylori infection.
  1. D H Reinbach,
  2. G Cruickshank,
  3. K E McColl
  1. University Department of Surgery, Western Infirmary, Glasgow.

    Abstract

    Most patients with chronic duodenal ulcer disease have Helicobacter pylori infection and eradicating it considerably reduces the relapse rate. The prevalence of H pylori in 80 patients (mean age = 52 years, range 17-85) presenting with acute perforated duodenal ulcer was examined and compared with age and sex matched hospital control patients. H pylori state was assessed by serum anti-H pylori IgG (Helico-G kit, Porton) using a titre of 18 or less as negative with a specificity of 89% and sensitivity of 88%. Only 47% of the perforated duodenal ulcer patients were positive for H pylori and this was similar to the value of 50% in the controls. In 51 of the perforated duodenal ulcer patients 14C-urea breath tests were also performed 4-10 weeks after surgery and this confirmed that only 49% were positive for H pylori. None of these patients had received perioperative drugs that might have eradicated the infection. The H pylori positive and H pylori negative perforated duodenal ulcer patients were similar with respect to age (53, 51), smoking (84%, 83%), and consumption of more than 15 units of alcohol per week (42%, 38%). Duodenal ulcer disease had been diagnosed before acute perforation in only 24% of those with H pylori and also 24% of those without the infection. Regular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use was common in both those with (44%) and without (45%) H pylori. In conclusion, the lack of association of acute perforated duodenal ulcer and H pylori infection suggests that perforated duodenal ulcer has a different pathogenesis from chronic duodenal ulcer disease, and that the first should not be regarded simply as a complication of the second.

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