Background: Helicobacter pylori infection remains a common problem and previous studies in the Caribbean revealed infection in over 50% of patients undergoing upper endoscopy.
Objective: The present study determined the prevalence of H pylori infection in patients undergoing upper gastrointestinal endoscopy in the Turks and Caicos Islands over a two- year interval.
Methods: All patients with upper gastrointestinal symptoms requiring endoscopy were evaluated clinically and H pylori testing performed histologically.
Results: There were 57 patients (21 males, 36 females) with a mean age of 43 years. Twenty-six patients presented with gastroesophageal reflux, 17 with upper abdominal pain, 10 with dyspepsia and 4 with upper gastrointestinal bleeding. H pylori infection was present in 24 patients (42%) and negative in 33 (58%). Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy was normal in 27 patients, 13 (54%) were H pylori positive and 14 (43%) negative. Antral gastritis was present in 13 patients, 7 (54%) were H pylori positive and 6 (46%) negative. Duodenal ulcer was present in 6 (33% H pylori positive) and gastric ulcer in 5 patients (40% H pylori positive). Distal oesophagitis was present in 5 patients (all negative for H pylori) and gastric carcinoma in 1 (H pylori positive).
Conclusion: In patients with dyspepsia, 60% were positive for H pylori. H pylori infection was common in the patients in this study with gastrointestinal symptoms. However, the prevalence in endoscopic patients and peptic ulcer disease is lower than in other reports from the Caribbean.