An evaluation of whether the Helicobacter pylori status of the patient's partner is important in reinfection after eradication success has been published in the August issue of The European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
The research group that conducted the study also attempted to assess the possibility of testing for transmission of H. pylori among partners by using molecular methods.
A total of 120 patients in whom H. pylori had been eradicated were studied prospectively.
Endoscopy with biopsies and a 13C-urea breath test were performed 1 month after completing therapy.
The breath test was repeated in all patients at 6 and 12 months.
At the 1-year follow-up visit (or before if reinfection occurred), a breath test was also performed on the patient's partner.
Gastric biopsies from patients and gastric content obtained by the string test from partners was used in order to conduct the molecular study.
UreC, a product of the UreC gene, was obtained by enzymatic digestion with MseI and HhaI enzymes of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) product of 1179 base pairs.
| H. pylori recurrence:|
Partner infected - 7.6%
Partner not infected - 3.6%
| Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol|
The researchers then examined the heterogeneity of ureC using electrophoresis to generate different band patterns.
Reinfections were diagnosed in 4 patients at 6 months, and a further 4 from 6 to 12 months, producing an incidence rate of 6.8% per patient-year.
Of these reinfected patients, 87% (7 out of the eight) had partners who were H. pylori-positive.
However, there was also a high prevalence (76%) of H. pylori infection in the partners of patients that did not become reinfected following eradication therapy.
Following multivariate analysis, age of the patient, δ13CO2 value after therapy, and therapy regimen, were the only variables that correlated with H. pylori recurrence.
In contrast, family variables (H. pylori status of partner, breath test value of partner, length of time couple had lived together, number of children living at home, and household density) did not correlate with recurrence of infection.
H. pylori recurrence occurred in 7 of 92 (7.6%) patients when the partner was infected and in 1 of 28 (3.6%) patients when the partner was H. pylori-negative.
Therefore, even if the spouse was infected, 92.4% of patients remained uninfected 1 year after H. pylori eradication.
The molecular study revealed that H. pylori strains involved were different in all cases.
Concluding, the authors of the report observe that recurrence of H. pylori infection seems to be relatively infrequent, even if the patient's spouse is H. pylori-positive.
They add that the molecular study demonstrates that the strains in reinfected patients and their partners are different, suggesting that the patient's partner does not act as a reservoir for H. pylori reinfection.