It is unclear what impact Helicobacter pylori infection has had on the management of dyspepsia in primary care.
It is also not clear to what extent published guidelines on H pylori are implemented in routine clinical practice.
Dr Bennett and colleagues from Ireland assessed the impact of H pylori infection on the management of dyspepsia in primary care.
Patients referred by primary care doctors to an open-access 13-carbon urea breath test service over a 2-year period for their first urea breath test were included in the study.
The research team linked individual breath results with data on prescribing obtained from the General Medical Services prescription database.
|Only 43% were referred back for re-testing|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
Of 805 patients, the team found that 47% had a positive urea breath test and 54% a negative urea breath test.
Of positive urea breath test patients, only 64% were prescribed eradication therapy in the 3 months after the breath test.
The researchers noted that only 43% were referred back for re-testing.
In the year after the urea breath test, the team observed a fall in prescribing of antisecretory therapy which was greatest in the patients who received H pylori therapy.
Dr Bennett's team concludes, “There appears to be under and inappropriate treatment of H pylori infection in primary care, and a low rate of re-testing after eradication, indicating that current guidelines are not well implemented in practice.”