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News

Patients undergoing weight loss surgery have high rates of Helicobacter pylori

The prevalence of Helicobacter pylori is high among patients about to undergo weight loss surgery, and treatment to eradicate the bacterial infection before surgery may be beneficial, according to an article in the October issue of Archives of Surgery.

News image

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The number of obese and morbidly obese Americans is steadily increasing.

It is estimated that more than 30% of the U.S. population has a body mass index (BMI) over 30 (obese), and 5% of the U.S. population has a BMI over 40.

This has led to an increased demand for weight loss surgery, including gastric bypass surgery.

20 to 50 % of people living in industrialized countries are infected with H pylori.

The role of H pylori after gastric bypass surgery is unknown.

Dr Archana Ramaswamy and colleagues from Atlanta, examined 99 patients between September 2001 and September 2002 as part of an evaluation for weight loss surgery.

The patients (16 men and 83 women; average age 40 years; average BMI, 48) underwent routine testing before their weight loss surgeries, including testing for the presence of H pylori.

24% of patients tested positive for H pylori preoperatively, this rose to 48% with postoperative foregut symptoms
Archives of Surgery

The researchers found that 24% of patients test positive for H pylori preoperatively.

Postoperative foregut symptoms were significant in 48% of the H pylori–positive group, and 19% of the H pylori–negative group.

The researchers noted that this increase remained even after controlling for age, sex, preoperative presence of antritis, type of surgery performed, and body mass index.

Those with prolonged symptoms who tested positive for the infection were given treatment to eliminate the infection.

The authors concluded, "The prevalence of H pylori infection in patients undergoing weight loss surgery is high, and a significant proportion of them have postoperative foregut symptoms."

"Consideration should be given to H pylori treatment in these patients."

Archives of Surgery: 2004: 139:1094-96
02 November 2004

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