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Keywords:

  • asymptomatic community;
  • endoscopy;
  • epidemiology;
  • Helicobacter pylori;
  • peptic ulcer

Abstract

Background

There is a wide variation in the prevalence of peptic ulcer in India both before and since the use of endoscopy. We studied the prevalence of peptic ulcer disease in a community in northern India and its relationship with Helicobacter pylori infection.

Methods

A house-to-house survey of residents aged 15 years or above in a sub-sector of Chandigarh was performed as part of a pilot survey. Subsequently, the study randomly covered all sectors of Chandigarh and we screened 2649 persons. A questionnaire was administered to each subject by trained staff. All individuals with history of peptic ulcer/dyspepsia and an equal number of asymptomatic individuals were asked to attend the outpatient department of the Institute. Diagnosis of peptic ulcer was based on endoscopy or history of previous ulcer surgery.

Results

Two hundred and fifty-four individuals attended the outpatient department at the Institute and 147 underwent endoscopy, biopsy for histology and rapid urease test, and blood was collected for H. pylori serology. There were 80 symptomatic and 67 asymptomatic individuals. Helicobacter pylori was positive in 38 (56.7%) asymptomatic and 49 (61.3%) symptomatic individuals (P > 0.05). The point prevalence of active peptic ulcer was 3.4% and the lifetime prevalence was 8.8%. The duodenal-to-gastric ulcer ratio was 12:1. Helicobacter pylori was present in 11/13 (84.6%) subjects with peptic ulcer. Peptic ulcer was more common in elderly and dyspeptic individuals and there was no effect of sex or socioeconomic status. Helicobacter pylori was associated with age only and did not depend on sex, socioeconomic status or dyspepsia. Of the 38 asymptomatic persons having H. pylori infection, none had active peptic ulcer.

Conclusions

This study demonstrates frequent occurrence of peptic ulcer and H. pylori in this part of the country. Peptic ulcer was more prevalent in the elderly and dyspeptic subjects. Helicobacter pylori was not associated with dyspepsia, and was more prevalent in elderly subjects. There was a low prevalence of peptic ulcer in asymptomatic H. pylori-infected persons in this community.