The role of Helicobacter pylori infection in the pathogenesis of functional dyspepsia is debated. It is known that a substantial fraction of dyspeptic patients manifest a low discomfort threshold to gastric distension. This study investigated the symptomatic pattern in 27 H pylori positive and 23 H pylori negative patients with chronic functional dyspepsia, and potential relations between infection and gastric hyperalgesia. Specific symptoms (pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating/fullness, early satiety) were scored from 0 to 3 for severity and frequency (global symptom scores: 0-15). The mechanical and perceptive responses to gastric accommodation were evaluated with an electronic barostat that produced graded isobaric distensions from 0 to 20 mm Hg in 2 mm Hg steps up to 600 ml. Gastric compliance (volume/pressure relation) and perception (rating scale: 0-10) were quantified. Standard gastrointestinal manometry and recorded phasic pressure activity at eight separate sites during fasting and postprandially were also assessed. H pylori positive and H pylori negative patients manifested similar severity and frequency of specific symptoms and global symptom scores (mean (SEM)) (severity: 9.5 (2.0) v 9.0 (2.1); frequency: 10.8 (2.0) v 9.7 (2.2)). No differences were seen either in gastric compliance (53 (4) ml/mm Hg v 43 (3) ml/mm Hg) or in gastric perception of distension (slope: 0.50 (0.05) v 0.53 (0.06)). Postprandial antral motility was significantly decreased in H pylori positive patients (two hours motility index: 10.4 (0.6) v 12.6 (0.5); p < 0.05). It is concluded that H pylori infected patients with functional dyspepsia present no distinctive symptoms by comparison with H pylori negative counterparts and H pylori infection is associated with diminished postprandial antral motility but it does not increase perception of gastric distension.
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