A total of 5732 consecutive Japanese subjects enrolled during a health-screening program were evaluated to determine the relationship between Helicobacter pylori infection and reflux esophagitis.
The study involved conducting gastrointestinal endoscopy on all subjects. A simultaneous measurement of serum anti-H. pylori antibody and pepsinogen, as markers of H. pylori infection together with gastric atrophy, were also carried out.
The level of risk of reflux esophagitis was then evaluated in relation to these markers, and the results were compared with those of gastric cancer.
Reflux esophagitis was found in 108 subjects.
|H. pylori may protect against reflux esophagitis|
Both positivity for H. pylori antibodies, and 'low' pepsinogen, indicating gastric atrophy, were negatively associated with reflux esophagitis.
Following classification of subjects into 4 groups, according to positivity or negativity for H. pylori infection, and 'low' pepsinogen, the prevalence of reflux esophagitis showed a decreasing trend as H.pylori-induced gastric atrophy became increasingly severe.
In contrast, the risk of gastric cancer showed an increasing trend, becoming greater as H. pylori-mediated gastric atrophy worsened.
The research team concludes from their findings that H. pylori infection may therefore have a protective role against reflux esophagitis, through the development of gastric atrophy.