Helicobacter pylori

Helicobacter pylori


  • Peptic ulcer disease (PUD)
    • Including past history of PUD, unless there is documented cure of previous H. pylori infection.
  • Dyspepsia
    • WITHOUT alarming symptoms (weight loss, severe pain, vomiting, GI bleed, dysphagia). If the patient presents with an alarming symptom, refer promtly to gastroenterology for investigations
  • MALT lymphoma
  • Early gastric cancer

May also consider testing if:

Patients with the following conditions should generally not be tested:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Lymphocytic gastritis
  • Hyperplastic gastric polyps
  • Hyperemesis gravidarum

Non-invasive testing usually preferred:

  • H. pylori stool antigen (use a dry sterile container)
  • Urea breath test

In patients undergoing endoscopy for dyspepsia, gastric biopsy urease testing can be used as well.

To prevent false negatives, prior to testing: stop antibiotics, bismuth, and PPI for at least 4 weeks. H2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) and antacids should be stopped for at least 24 hours.

DO NOT use serologic testing, as it cannot differentiate between active or prior infection

Treatment Criteria and Considerations

  • There is no universally effective therapy of H. pylori; even a threshold of 90% efficacy is difficult to achieve.
  • Culture and susceptibility testing is generally NOT available in North America.
    • We are limited to extrapolating data from other jurisdictions around the world.
  • Recent use of antibiotics increases the risk of antimicrobial resistance.
  • Antimicrobial resistance is associated with greater risk of treatment failure; particularly for clarithromycin-based and quinolone-based regimens.
  • Treatment adherence tends to decrease as the amount of daily doses increases.
  • It is essential that patients are aware of the importance of treatment adherence.
  • May consider compliance packaging (e.g. "Blister packs").
  • Smoking cessation can improve ulcer healing rates and also reduce ulcers unrelated to H. pylori

Additional information

Last updated: September 10, 2020

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  • Choi IJ et al. Family History of Gastric Cancer and Helicobacter pylori Treatment. NEJM. 2020; 382:427-436. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1909666
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  • Wang J et al. Adverse outcomes of proton pump inhibitors in chronic liver disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Hepatol Int. 2020 Jan 7. doi: 10.1007/s12072-019-10010-3
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  • The Ottawa Hospital Therapeutic Tips & Trends: H. pylori: treatment regimens & FAQs. 2018.
  • RXFiles. H. pylori testing and eradications. Accessed 09-2020.