There are few studies of Helicobacter pylori reinfection in childhood. In the current study the reinfection rate of H. pylori and ulcer recurrence were investigated during a follow-up period of 12 months or more in children who had undergone eradication therapy.Methods:
Twenty-seven patients aged 5 to 16 years (6 with gastric ulcer, 13 with duodenal ulcer, and 8 with nodular gastritis) were studied. Biopsy-based H. pylori tests performed 1 to 2 months after eradication therapy demonstrated that eradication was successful in 23 patients (5 with gastric ulcer, 11 with duodenal ulcer, and 7 with nodular gastritis) and unsuccessful in 4 (1 with gastric ulcer, 2 with duodenal ulcer, and 1 with nodular gastritis). Twenty-three successfully treated patients were observed for a mean of 22 months (a total of 42.2 patient years of follow-up). To assess H. pylori status, all 23 patients underwent a 13C-urea breath test 1 year after eradication therapy. If the test result was negative, the patients underwent the follow-up test once every year thereafter. In successfully and unsuccessfully treated patients, endoscopy was performed if a patient reported symptoms suggesting ulcer recurrence.Results:
The initial follow-up 13C-urea breath tests showed that all 23 patients remained free of infection at 12 to 19 months. Among 17 patients, the second test confirmed reinfection in 1 at 28 months. In two patients studied, the third test showed a negative result. The reinfection rate was 2.4% per patient year. Over the follow-up period, ulcer recurrence was found in 2 of 3 ulcer patients with eradication failure but in none of the 16 ulcer patients with successful eradication. The recurrence rate was significantly lower in successfully treated patients than in unsuccessfully treated patients (p < 0.05).Conclusions:
Reinfection with H. pylori is rare in children aged more than 5 years, and successful eradication significantly reduces ulcer recurrence. This study supports the benefit of eradication therapy in older children.