Digestive diseases and sciences vol:41 issue:3 pages:462-8
The pathogenetic link between Helicobacter pylori gastritis and duodenal ulcer is still unknown. Fast gastric emptying of liquids might be important in the pathogenesis of gastric metaplasia of the duodenum and duodenal ulcer through an increased exposure of the duodenum to gastric acid. In H. pylori-infected subjects, an abnormal gastric emptying could affect urea breath test results and correlate with histological gastritis. This study was performed to evaluate the gastric emptying of liquids in duodenal ulcer patients with H. pylori infection and the possible relation between the bacterial load, gastric emptying, and urea breath test results. Seventeen duodenal ulcer patients with H. pylori gastritis and 15 healthy volunteers were studied by a [14C]octanoic acid and [13C]urea breath test to evaluate gastric emptying rate and H. pylori status simultaneously. Endoscopy with antral biopsies were performed in all duodenal ulcer patients. Duodenal ulcer patients with H. pylori infection have a normal liquid gastric emptying that is unrelated with histological severity of gastritis. The urea breath test results and the gastric emptying parameters do not correlate with histology. A significant correlation between the gastric emptying and the urea hydrolysis rate is found. It is concluded that H. pylori infection and duodenal ulcer disease is not associated with abnormally fast liquid gastric emptying, and this finding should be taken into account when a casual link between H. pylori infection and duodenal ulcer disease is searched for. The correlation between gastric emptying and urea hydrolysis rate explains why no conclusions on intragastric bacterial load can be drawn from the urea breath test results.