Acid-related disorders include not only reflux esophagitis and peptic ulcer, but also a subset of patients with endoscopy-negative dyspepsia. The management strategy differs between these diseases and therefore a precise diagnosis is important. The unaided clinical diagnosis is of limited value in patients with pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen, and endoscopy is therefore an important and cost-effective diagnostic tool. Duodenal ulcer is caused by an interplay between gastric acid and Helicobacter pylori. The treatment is aimed at rapid symptom relief and healing and at the same time eradication of H. pylori. At present the best choice is the combination of a proton pump inhibitor and two effective antimicrobial drugs, e.g., clarithromycin and metronidazole. The proton pump inhibitor has dual effect in this combination it provides optimal symptom relief and healing, and it increases the anti-H. pylori-effect of the antimicrobial drugs. The risk of reinfection varies geographically; in Europe it is around 1 percent per year, and cure of the infection provides long-term, maybe life-long, cure of the ulcer disease. Some gastric ulcers are not H. pylori-related and the treatment strategy therefore includes a diagnostic test for this infection. If positive, treatment is similar to that in duodenal ulcer, while H. pylori- negative gastric ulcer patients are treated with anti-secretory drugs alone. Reflux esophagitis correlates with the degree of acid exposure to the esophagus, and intensive acid inhibition is the most effective non-surgical therapy. In most cases the disease is chronic and needs continuous long-term therapy to prevent relapse. A staged reduction in dosage of the acid inhibitory drug may be attempted when the esophagitis is healed and the patient has become symptom free, but full dose therapy is often needed. Patients with endoscopy-negative dyspepsia are a heterogenous group and a more precise identification of the cause of the symptoms is a prerequisite for rational treatment. Empiric treatment can be tried in patients without alarm symptoms like bleeding or a palpable abdominal mass, and often an acid inhibitory drug is used. A more precise identification of those patients who have acid-related symptoms is possible using placebo controlled single- subject trials with an effective acid inhibitory drug, but in daily routine these drugs are simply given for a short period of time, and in case symptomatic relief is observed, the symptoms may be regarded as being acid- related and treated accordingly.
|Tidsskrift||Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine|
|Status||Udgivet - 1 jan. 1997|