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Possible role of Helicobacter pylori serology in reducing endoscopy workload.
  1. T. C. Tham,
  2. N. McLaughlin,
  3. D. F. Hughes,
  4. M. Ferguson,
  5. J. J. Crosbie,
  6. M. Madden,
  7. S. Namnyak,
  8. F. A. O'Connor
  1. Department of Medicine, Atnagelvin Area Hospital, Londonderry, UK.


    We validated a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), Helico-G, in diagnosing H. pylori in 129 patients (mean age 50 years, range 15-86). We analysed the results of endoscopy against serology to see whether there was a possibility of adopting the strategy of not endoscoping dyspeptic subjects under the age of 45. H. pylori infection was considered present if either histology and/or culture were positive. The ELISA had a sensitivity of 88%, specificity of 72%, positive predictive value of 85%, negative predictive value of 77% and accuracy of 82% in detecting H. pylori. In a subgroup of 52 subjects aged 45 or less (mean age 35 years, range 15-45), 17 out of 25 patients with positive endoscopic findings were H. pylori seropositive while 16 out of 27 patients had normal endoscopic findings. Eighteen out of the 52 patients (35%) were H. pylori seronegative and normal endoscopically except for five patients (10%) who had mild to moderate oesophagitis and two who had non-erosive gastritis (4%). All patients with duodenal ulcer disease (7) were seropositive giving predictive values of positive and negative serology for a diagnosis of duodenal ulcer disease as 28% and 100%, respectively. Therefore adopting a strategy of endoscoping subjects under the age of 45 only if they were H. pylori seropositive would have saved 35% of endoscopies in this age group but missed oesophagitis in 10%. Negative serology would tend to exclude duodenal ulcer disease while positive serology discriminates poorly for it. Serology may be a useful adjunct in screening to reduce endoscopy workload provided that patients with gastro-oesophageal reflux symptoms are excluded.

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