There is a controversial association between Helicobacter pylori infection and recurrent abdominal pain in childhood.
The information on specific symptomatology of the infection is inconsistent.
Dr Hoda Malaty and colleagues from Texas examined the prevalence of H pylori infection in children with recurrent abdominal pain vs asymptomatic children.
The investigative team conducted 2 prospective studies.
The first study enrolled 223 children diagnosed with recurrent abdominal pain from 2 pediatric gastroenterology clinics.
Children were qualified if they were identified by their physician as having recurrent abdominal pain.
A new multidimensional measure for recurrent abdominal pain consisting of 4 scales was administered to each child/parent.
The second study conducted by the team enrolled 330 asymptomatic children from the same community.
|The prevalence of H pylori in children with recurrent abdominal pain was 11%|
These children did not have any upper gastrointestinal symptoms.
Symptomatic and asymptomatic children underwent 13C-urea breath testing.
In the first study, the team noted that the prevalence of H pylori in children with recurrent abdominal pain was 11%.
The prevalence of H pylori, fell with age from 20% at age 5 years to 7% for children aged over 10 years.
The investigators found no association between the mother's educational level and H pylori prevalence.
The team observed no relationship between H pylori and mean scores of the recurrent abdominal pain scales.
In the second study, the prevalence of H pylori in asymptomatic children was 17%.
The investigators noted that the prevalence of infection increased with age from 11% for children under 5 years to 40% for children over 10 years of age.
In this study, the team found that the mother's educational level was inversely correlated with H pylori.
Dr Malaty's team concluded, “The epidemiologic patterns of H pylori infection differed significantly between symptomatic and asymptomatic children.”
“Younger children suffering from recurrent abdominal pain are more likely to be infected with H pylori than older children with the same complaint, suggesting that early acquisition may manifest in symptoms that lead to clinic visits.”