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Summary

Aim

To study the incidence of Helicobacter pylori recurrence, its chronological aspects, and the variables that might influence it.

Methods

A total of 1000 patients in whom H. pylori had been eradicated were prospectively studied. Therapies were classified as low and high efficacy regimens. Four to eight weeks after completion of therapy, 13C-urea-breath-test was performed, and it was repeated yearly up to 5 years. In some patients, endoscopy with biopsies was also performed to confirm H. pylori eradication.

Results

A total of 1000 patients were included, giving 2744 patient-years of follow-up. Seventy-one H. pylori recurrences were observed (2.6% per patient-year). Probability of being H. pylori-negative at 1 year was 94.7%, and at 5 years 90.7%. In the multivariate analysis, low age (OR: 1.84; 95% CI: 1.04–3.26) and low efficacy therapies (OR: 2.5; 1.23–5.04) correlated with 1-year H. pylori recurrence. Differences were observed when Kaplan–Meier curves were compared depending on age and therapy regimen.

Conclusion

Risk of posteradication H. pylori recurrence is higher during the first year, which suggests that most recurrences during this period are recrudescence and not true reinfections. H. pylori recurrence is more frequent in younger patients and in those treated with low efficacy therapies, but is exceptional if high efficacy therapies are used, in which case post-therapy eradication can be safely confirmed at 4 weeks with 13C-urea-breath-test.