Recent European trials demonstrate that testing and treatment for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is an effective alternative to prompt endoscopy in uninvestigated dyspepsia. The eventual endoscopy rate after H. pylori testing, which is a key determinant of cost-effectiveness, is unknown in the United States. Our aim was to determine the endoscopy rate after H. pylori testing in primary care practice in the United States and to compare outcomes among seropositive and seronegative patients.We performed a retrospective review with mean 13 month follow-up of primary care patients with dyspeptic symptoms tested with office-based H. pylori serology.Of 268 adults tested (37+/-11 yr, 58% women), 57 (21%) were seropositive and 49/57 (86%) received eradication therapy. Endoscopy or contrast radiography was performed on 19% of seropositive and 19% of seronegative patients (p = 0.97). Annualized median disease-related expenditures were similar among seropositive and seronegative patients ($228 [$93-$654] vs $366 [$107-$1268], p = 0.19). However, aggregate expenditures were substantially lower than the cost of endoscopy alone ($816 [$296-$970]). On follow-up, seropositive and seronegative patients had similar numbers of primary care visits (2.9+/-3.2 vs 3.5+/-3.6, p = 0.23), prolonged antisecretory medication use (25 vs 33%, p = 0.27), and specialist referrals (23 vs 24%, p = 0.83).In a United States center, 81% of primary care patients tested for H. pylori did not undergo endoscopy, and patients incurred significantly lower median expenditures after noninvasive H. pylori testing than the cost of endoscopy alone. Seropositive and seronegative patients experienced comparable outcomes after H. pylori testing.
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View details for PubMedID 11467631