Background Helicobacter pylori infection is a major cause of peptic ulcer disease, but the prevalence of this infection has been decreasing steadily. Additionally, eradication of H. pylori decreases ulcer recurrence and prevents ulcer complications such as bleeding.
Aim To examine whether the decreased prevalence of H. pylori and increased use of eradication regimens have affected the prevalence of peptic ulcer disease-related hospitalizations.
Methods We chose to study a period between 1996 and 2005. The number of gastric and duodenal ulcers as primary or secondary hospital discharge diagnoses per year for the 10-year span was collected from five large US hospitals. Collected data were analysed using Spearman correlation.
Results No statistically significant trend was observed in the number of gastric or duodenal ulcers listed as primary or secondary discharge diagnoses at any of the five healthcare centres.
Conclusions Despite a decreasing prevalence of H. pylori and the increasing use of successful H. pylori eradication regimens, the prevalence of peptic ulcer disease and its complications has not changed. In the US other aetiologies, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, may be playing a larger role than once thought.