Prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection, endoscopic gastric findings and dyspeptic symptoms among a young Japanese population born in the 1970s


Tomohiko Shimatani, Department of General Medicine, Hiroshima University Hospital, 1-2-3 Kasumi, Minami-ku, Hiroshima 734-8551, Japan. Email:


Background:  With the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection rapidly decreasing in Japan, endoscopic findings and dyspeptic symptoms need to be re-evaluated.

Methods:  In a health check-up program, endoscopy was performed on 530 young Japanese subjects (371 men and 159 women) born in the 1970s. Helicobacter pylori infection was evaluated using serology and a rapid urease test. Endoscopic gastritis was classified according to the Sydney classification system, in addition to nodular gastritis. Dyspeptic symptoms were also recorded before endoscopy.

Results:  Of the 530 subjects, 87 (16.4%) were H. pylori positive. Of the 443 H. pylori-negative subjects, 349 (78.8%) were considered to have endoscopically normal gastric mucosa. However, of the 87 H. pylori-positive subjects, only 19 (21.8%) tested normal (P < 0.001). The prevalence of several types of gastritis was significantly higher in H. pylori-positive subjects compared with H. pylori-negative subjects: atrophic gastritis (37.9% vs 1.1%, P < 0.001), flat erosive gastritis (29.9% vs 7.2%, P < 0.001), rugal hyperplastic gastritis (12.6% vs 0.0%, P < 0.001), and nodular gastritis (13.8% vs 0.0%, P < 0.001). Other types of gastritis were not related to H. pylori status. The prevalence of subjects with dyspeptic symptoms was significantly higher in H. pylori-positive subjects compared with H. pylori-negative ones (28.7% vs 6.5%, P < 0.001).

Conclusion:  It is suggested that in consideration of its recent low prevalence and the slow increase in its infection, the prevalence of H. pylori-related gastritis will gradually decrease in Japan. Further studies will be required to ascertain if there is a need for H. pylori eradication in this young population.

© 2005 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd