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Helicobacter pylori: When To Test, When To Treat

Linda Rabeneck, MD, MPH; and David Y. Graham, MD
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Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030 Requests for Reprints: Linda Rabeneck, MD, MPH, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Room 3A-352 (111D), 2002 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030. Current Author Addresses: Drs. Rabeneck and Graham: Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Room 3A-352 (111D), 2002 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030.

Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1997;126(4):315-316. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-126-4-199702150-00008
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Helicobacter pylori infection is one of the most common chronic infections in humans. Although most H. pylori infections are clinically silent, the organism is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality because it causes both peptic ulcer and gastric cancer [1]. Along with new knowledge about H. pylori-related diseases, we now have new diagnostic and therapeutic tools. Reliable serologic (IgG antibody) tests for H. pylori infection are now readily available, and the Food and Drug Administration, last fall, approved the urea breath test, which is uniquely able to detect active infection. The Food and Drug Administration has also approved three drug combinations for the treatment of infection, and other promising agents are currently undergoing clinical evaluation.

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