High prevalence of asymptomatic peptic ulcers diagnosed during screening endoscopy in patients with cirrhosis

Authors Theodoros Voulgaris, Dimitrios Karagiannakis, Spyridon Siakavellas, Despina Kalogera, Theodoros Angelopoulos, Elissavet Chloupi, George Karamanolis, George Papatheodoridis, John Vlachogiannakos.


Background Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) is more prevalent in cirrhotics and this may aggravate prognosis. We investigated the prevalence of PUD in cirrhotics and its potential association with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, the underlying etiology and severity of liver disease, and other manifestations of portal hypertension (PH).

Methods We enrolled consecutive asymptomatic cirrhotic patients who underwent screening endoscopy in a tertiary hospital during a 12-month period. We recorded the presence of PUD and the endoscopic findings associated with PH. H. pylori infection was documented through either histology or CLO-test. The diagnosis of cirrhosis was based on elastography, liver biopsy or a combination of clinical, biochemical and imaging data.

Results One hundred patients (M/F: 54/46, mean age: 61±14 years) were included in the analysis. Viral hepatitis (37%) and alcohol (22%) were the most common causes of cirrhosis. Child-Pugh stage was A/B/C: 60/35/5. PUD was found in 19 patients (14 gastric, 5 duodenal). H. pylori infection was diagnosed in 54%. Varices were detected in 59% (39% needed treatment). PH gastropathy was present in 81% (severe in 33%). The presence of PUD was unrelated to the etiology and the severity of liver disease or to other endoscopic manifestations of PH. No correlation was found between PUD and H. pylori infection.

Conclusions A high prevalence of PUD was observed in our cirrhotic patients, although they were asymptomatic and had no known risk factors of ulcerogenicity. The value of screening endoscopy for the early diagnosis and treatment of PUD in cirrhotics deserves further investigation.

Keywords Liver cirrhosis, peptic ulcer disease, Helicobacter pylori infection, portal hypertension

Ann Gastroenterol 2019; 32 (5): 451-456

Original Articles