H. Pylori Often Unrelated to Children's Gastrointestinal Pain

Review finds no link with recurrent abdominal pain, but possible link with unspecified pain
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- In pediatric patients with gastrointestinal symptoms, Helicobacter pylori infection is not likely associated with recurrent abdominal pain (RAP), but it may be associated with unspecified abdominal pain (UAP) and epigastric pain, according to a review published online Feb. 15 in Pediatrics.

Leo A.A. Spee, M.D., of the Erasmus Medical Center-University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues reviewed 38 relevant studies, including 23 case-control studies, 14 cross-sectional studies, and one prospective cohort study.

The researchers found no association between RAP and H. pylori infection (pooled odds ratios, 1.21 in 12 case-control studies and 1.00 in seven cross-sectional studies). Although they found evidence of an association between UAP and H. pylori infection (pooled odds ratio, 2.87 in six hospital-based studies), they could not confirm this finding in children seen in primary care (pooled odds ratio, 0.99). In three studies addressing epigastric pain, they found that two studies reported a statistically significant positive association.

"We postulate that UAP in a hospital-based setting and epigastric pain in general might be associated with an (acute) H. pylori infection," the authors conclude. "Data reporting on epigastric pain, however, were limited, so additional research to investigate this association is needed."

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