A population-based survey on gastrointestinaltract symptoms and Helicobacter pylori infection in children and adolescents

Costantino De Giacomo, Valeria Valdambrini, Francesca Lizzoli, Anna Gissi, Marina Palestra, Carmine Tinelli, Maurizio Zagari, Franco Bazzoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Helicobacter pylori infection is a frequent infection mainly acquired in childhood. Even if the infection is almost invariably associated with mild to severe gastro-duodenal lesions, no specific clinical picture has been identified. The aim of this study was to evaluate the presence of dyspeptic symptoms and their relationship with the presence of H. pylori infection in the first two decades of life. Materials and Methods. A school-population sample size of 808 subjects from 6- to 19-year-olds was investigated for the presence of gastrointestinal tract symptoms and evaluated by a 13C-urea breath test for H. pylori infection. The relationship between clinical findings and H. pylori infection was evaluated by χ2 statistic or Fisher's exact test, as appropriate. Results. Symptoms of dyspepsia were identified in 45% of subjects, while the picture of ulcer-like and dysmotility-like forms were present in 3-4%. H. pylori infection was demonstrated in 95 (11.8%) subjects, 49.5% of them without symptoms. Severe epigastric pain and ulcer-like dyspepsia were significantly associated with H. pylori infection, while recurrent abdominal pain or dysmotility-like dyspepsia were not. Conclusions. Dyspeptic symptoms are frequent in children, and its association with H. pylori infection is more evident than with recurrent abdominal pain. The age at which the infection is acquired seems to be under 6 years of age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-363
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Helicobacter pylori, C-urea breath test
  • Recurrent abdominal pain, dyspepsia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Microbiology


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