Health Questions and Answers

Question: What is the association of Helicobacter pylori with duodenal ulcer disease?


The association is quite strong. Infection increases serum gastrin levels, which results in increased gastric acid production by parietal cells. Excessive acid production leads to damage of duodenal mucosa over time with subsequent development of duodenal gastric metaplasia. H. pylori may infect these duodenal “patches” of gastric mucosa, leading to duodenitis and eventual duodenal ulceration. Elimination of either gastric acid or infection can prevent duodenal ulcers due to H. pylori.

Ciocola AA, McSorley DJ, Turner K, et al: Helicobacter pylori infection rates in duodenal ulcer patients in the U.S. may be lower than previously estimated. Am J Gastroenterol 94:1834-1840, 1999.

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