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Keywords:

  • Chinese;
  • Helicobacter pylori;
  • Indian;
  • Malay;
  • non-ulcer dyspepsia;
  • peptic ulcers;
  • risk factors.

ABSTRACT

The aim of the present study was to determine the risk factors for Helicobacter pylori in a dyspeptic Malaysian population. A cross-sectional survey of 1060 consecutive patients presenting with dyspepsia at the Endoscopic Unit, University Hospital, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from January 1994 to July 1995 was undertaken. All patients answered a detailed questionnaire and underwent endoscopy, with two antral biopsies taken for diagnosis of H. pylori using a rapid urease test. An overall H. pylori prevalence of 49.0% was recorded. Helicobacter pylori prevalence in relation to the major endoscopic diagnoses were as follows: non-ulcer dyspepsia (NUD) 31.2%; duodenal ulcer (DU) 91.4%; and gastric ulcer (GU) 74.1%. The prevalence among the races were as follows: Malay 16.4%; Chinese 48.5%; and Indians 61.8%. Multiple logistic regression analysis identified the following as independent risk factors: > 45 years old 1.5 (1.1,2.0); male gender 1.6 (1.2,2.1); ethnic group: Chinese 2.5 (1.7,3.7); Indians 4.9 (3.2,7.5); level of education: low 2.3 (1.5,3.5); middle 1.7 (1.1,2.6); and smoking 1.6 (1.2,2.3). Analysis was also performed on DU, GU and non-UD patients separately; in both DU and GU patients, H. pylori prevalence was high regardless of age, sex, race or level of education. However, in DU patients, Indian race had an independent risk factor (Odds ratio = 7.8 (1.2,48.4)). The findings in the NUD group reflected the findings in the ‘all patients’ group; > 45 years old, male gender, Indian and Chinese race, and low level of education were also significant, independent risk factors. The overall differences in H. pylori prevalence between the different subgroups were mainly due to differences in the NUD group. The increased risk of H. pylori infection in Chinese and Indians points to either an inherent ethnic genetic predisposition or to socio-cultural practices peculiar to the particular race which may be responsible for transmission of the infection.