Prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection in children with recurrent abdominal pain.Trop Gastroenterol. 2005 Apr-Jun; 26(2):102-4.TG
The present study was performed to study the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection in children with recurrent abdominal pain (RAP). Children above 3 years of age of both sexes attending the OPD of a teaching hospital, with complaints of at least three discrete episodes of abdominal pain of sufficient severity to interrupt normal daily activities, occurring over a period of one month or more and with out identifiable cause of pain were enrolled in the study. The subjects were divided into 3 age groups of 3-5 years, 5-8 years and 8-12 years. Thirty normal controls from each age group were also enrolled. Detailed history was taken and thorough physical examination was done. Estimation of haemoglobin and specific IgG antibodies to H. pylori by Immunocomb II was done. Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy was performed with a fibreoptic pediatric sized endoscope in RAP cases after obtaining informed parental consent. Multiple biopsy samples were taken and subjected to Rapid Urease Test (RUT), Gram's Staining, Culture and histology. Data obtained were analyzed, using Fisher's Z Test, Students t-test or Chi Square as applicable. Sixty-eight cases and 90 controls were enrolled, the number in various age groups being comparable (p >0.05). Seropositivity rate was significantly more in cases (60.3%) compared to controls (10%) (p <0.001) even among various age groups (<0.01). Prevalence increased with advancing age from 3.3% to 16.7% in controls, but not among cases. Seropositivity rates among males and females were comparable both among cases and controls. Incidence of malnutrition, stunting and anemia were similar irrespective of serological status. Total duration of illness, frequency, duration of each episode, and location of pain were also comparable. Among 10 seropositive children who underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy 80% showed one or more abnormalities, while the single seronegative child had no abnormal finding. Half the seropositive cases had gastritis, hyperemia or erosion on gross examination. Histopathological evidence of gastritis was present in 40%, but culture was negative in all. There is a significant association of H. pylori infection and RAP. But studies involving larger number of children undergoing endoscopy is required for definite evidence of a 'cause and effect'.