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Jornal de Pediatria
Print version ISSN 0021-7557On-line version ISSN 1678-4782
BITTENCOURT, Paulo F. S.; ROCHA, Gifone A.; PENNA, Francisco J. and QUEIROZ, Dulciene M. M.. Gastroduodenal peptic ulcer and Helicobacter pylori infection in children and adolescents. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2006, vol.82, n.5, pp.325-334. ISSN 0021-7557. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0021-75572006000600004.
OBJECTIVE: To show important aspects of gastroduodenal peptic ulcer and of Helicobacter pylori infection in children and adolescents. SOURCES: Technical textbooks and MEDLINE and LILACS databases including publications between 1966 and 2006. SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS : The etiology of peptic ulcer in children and adolescents may be primary, associated with H. pylori infection, or secondary, in which etiopathogenic mechanisms rely upon the underlying disease. The infection is acquired predominantly in childhood, with prevalence rates between 56.8 and 83.1% in children who live in the poorest Brazilian regions, amounting to nearly 10% in children aged less than 10 years in industrialized countries. The infection can be diagnosed by invasive methods, which investigate the presence of the bacterium, or of DNA, RNA or bacterial products in biopsy fragments of the gastric mucosa obtained at endoscopic examination; it can also be diagnosed through noninvasive methods, which include the detection of anti-H. pylori antibodies in serum, urine or saliva samples, detection of bacterial antigens in stool samples, and the carbon 13-labeled urea breath test. However, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is the method of choice for the diagnosis of peptic ulcer, as it allows collecting fragments from the gastric mucosa during the procedure for the diagnosis of infection and for histopathological analysis. CONCLUSIONS: H. pylori infection is the major cause of peptic ulcer among children. Eradication of the bacterium with antimicrobial therapy results in the cure of the disease, and is therefore indicated for all children with H. pylori infection with an active, recurrent, healed, or complicated peptic ulcer.
Keywords : Peptic ulcer; etiology; pathophysiology; diagnosis; Helicobacter pylori; children; adolescents.