Characteristics of Helicobacter pylori infection in a National Referral Hospital in Bhutan
Introduction: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacterium causing chronic gastric infection and may cause gastric cancer. It was necessary to see the trend of infection, especially in symptomatic patients. This retrospective descriptive study was aimed to describe the characteristics of H. pylori infection in Bhutanese patients referred for an endoscopy to the National Referral Hospital, Thimphu.
Methods: The sample of the study was randomized 380 medical records of the patients who underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and Rapid Urea Test for symptomatic dyspepsia and peptic ulcer. Data was collected using a survey form designed by the researchers. Data analysis was done using descriptive statistics and either Chi-square or Fisher’s exact test.
Results: The prevalence of H. pylori infection was very high (76.6%). The mean age of the infection was 42 with a range from 15 to 84 years. The highest prevalence of infection was observed in the age group 20-29 years (82.7%) and lowest in the oldest age group 70-84 years (66.7%). The analysis showed no significant difference in infection amongst age groups, gender, and endoscopic findings to the positive results at 5% significant level except for monthly prevalence (p<0.001). Gastritis was the commonest endoscopy finding (153/380) and gastro-duodenitis had the highest positivity rate (88.9%).
Conclusion: The prevalence of infection was relatively high compared with previous studies. Young and middle-aged adults had a high prevalence and this group needs to be given priority for screening and eradication treatment considering limited resources to prevent associated gastric cancer in Bhutan.
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