Published online Nov 7, 2010. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v16.i41.5181
Revised: June 21, 2010
Accepted: June 28, 2010
Published online: November 7, 2010
Although evidence is emerging that the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is declining in all age groups, the understanding of its disease spectrum continues to evolve. If untreated, H. pylori infection is lifelong. Although H. pylori typically colonizes the human stomach for many decades without adverse consequences, children infected with H. pylori can manifest gastrointestinal diseases. Controversy persists regarding testing (and treating) for H. pylori infection in children with recurrent abdominal pain, chronic idiopathic thrombocytopenia, and poor growth. There is evidence of the role of H. pylori in childhood iron deficiency anemia, but the results are not conclusive. The possibility of an inverse relationship between H. pylori and gastroesophageal reflux disease, as well as childhood asthma, remains a controversial question. A better understanding of the H. pylori disease spectrum in childhood should lead to clearer recommendations about testing for and treating H. pylori infection in children who are more likely to develop clinical sequelae.