The role of Helicobacter pylori and gastritis in children with recurrent abdominal pain.Isr Med Assoc J. 2000 Feb; 2(2):126-8.IM
Recurrent abdominal pain is a common pediatric diagnostic problem. Endoscopy is sometimes performed as part of the evaluation. Although gastritis and/or Helicobacter pylori infection is often present, it is not known if they contribute to the symptomatology.
To evaluate the role of either gastritis or H. pylori infection in the symptomatology of children with RAP.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
We retrospectively studied two groups of patients, 70 children in each, who had undergone endoscopy. One group was evaluated endoscopically for RAP and the other was a heterogeneous group that underwent endoscopy for indications other than RAP. Biopsies were taken during endoscopy and Giemsa staining was performed for the presence of H. pylori. Triple therapy was given as indicated, and the children were followed for an average of 6 months.
Microscopic gastritis was diagnosed in 39 patients (55.7%) of the RAP group and in 31 of the heterogeneous group (44.2%) (NS), and H. pylori was found in 32 patients of the RAP group and in 16 of the heterogeneous group (45.7% vs. 22.8%, P < 0.01). All children with H. pylori, except one in the heterogeneous group, had accompanying gastritis. On the other hand, gastritis without H. pylori infection was seen in 7 children in the RAP group and in 15 of the other. Endoscopy revealed macroscopic abnormalities in 52 of the 70 children with microscopic gastritis. There was a clinical improvement after triple therapy in 28 of 33 children with H. pylori-associated gastritis (84.85%), in 4 of 8 children with gastritis unassociated with H. pylori (50%), and in 8 of 15 without gastritis or H. pylori (53.3%) (P < 0.01 between the H. pylori-associated gastritis and each of the other groups).
H. pylori infection and gastritis may be associated with RAP in a selected subgroup of children. We recommend a complete work-up, including endoscopy and invasive or non-invasive diagnostic modalities for H. pylori, and treatment of the infection.