The role of Helicobacter pylori (Hp) in functional dyspepsia (FD) is controversial and previously published data do not help to clarify whether Hp eradication affects the natural course of FD. The aim of this study was to assess the clinical course of FD during a long follow-up period of 7 years in a homogeneous sample of Hp-eradicated patients. Among patients referred between 1991 and 1996, patients with FD and infected with Hp were enrolled. Patients were administered a structured symptom questionnaire and evaluated after Hp eradication at each 12-month time points. Patients were divided into three FD subgroups: predominantly ulcer-like, dismotility-like, and reflux-like symptom clusters. A composite symptom score ranging from 0 (no symptom) to 3 (severe symptoms) was assigned to each FD cluster. Of the 1685 screened patients, 405 had FD and 211 of them (52.1%) were also Hp-positive. During the follow-up, the amount of missing information varied from 10% to 17.5% within the first 6 years and was 30.8% at 7 years. The rates of improved patients ranged from 33% (reflux-like) to 34.9% (dismotility-like) to 47.3% (ulcer-like). However, only a proportion of 10%-50% of them was symptom-free after eradication and also at each 12-month evaluation, whereas the other patients became symptomatic at different times. FD symptoms slightly improve after Hp eradication over a long period of time but a large percentage of these improved patients may experience FD symptoms again, even after some years of well-being after Hp eradication. © 2005 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.
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