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Treating Helicobacter pylori Infection May Improve Anemia FREE

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The summary below is from the full report titled “Reversal of Iron Deficiency Anemia after Helicobacter pylori Eradication in Patients with Asymptomatic Gastritis.” It is in the 2 November 1999 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 131, pages 668-672). The authors are B. Annibale, M. Marignani, B. Monarca, G. Antonelli, A. Marcheggiano, G. Martino, F. Mandelli, R. Caprilli, and G. Delle Fave.

Ann Intern Med. 1999;131(9):668. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-131-9-199911020-00037
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What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

Infection with Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium, can cause gastritis (irritation of the stomach lining) and stomach ulcers (areas of erosion of the stomach lining). Helicobacter pylori infection has also been associated with iron deficiency anemia (low blood counts due to low iron levels). Treating this infection heals the stomach lining. We do not know whether treatment improves anemia.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

The researchers wanted to see if treating Helicobacter pylori infection in people with gastritis and iron deficiency anemia would improve the anemia.

Who was studied?

At a teaching hospital in Italy, the researchers studied 30 patients with iron deficiency anemia who had Helicobacter pylori infection and gastritis but no other potential cause of anemia.

How was the study done?

The researchers gave all 30 patients a standard treatment for this infection and also had them stop taking iron supplements. They then measured blood counts and body iron levels in all patients and performed special tests to see whether the infection was cured.

What did the researchers find?

Twenty-four of the 30 patients were successfully cured of the infection. Six months after treatment, three quarters of these 24 cured patients had improvement in the anemia. After 1 year, more than 90% of them had recovered from their anemia.

What were the limitations of the study?

There was no comparison group of patients that did not receive treatment or were not successfully cured. It is not possible to know for sure whether the patients got better on their own or because of the treatment.

What are the implications of the study?

Treatment of Helicobacter pylor infection in patients with gastritis and iron deficiency anemia may improve the anemia as well as the gastritis.





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