Objectives: As part of a cross-sectional study on cholelithiasis, 1533 out
of 1840 residents in Loiano/Monghidoro, a rural area in Northern Italy (792
men, 741 women, age range 28-80 years), agreed to be further evaluated in
relation to their Helicobacter pylori status.
Methods: Each participant performed a C-13-urea breath test (C-13-UBT) and
provided information on sociodemographic, lifestyle and clinical characteri
Results: The C-13-UBT was positive in 1041 subjects (67.9%; men: 69%; women
: 67%) and was positively associated with increasing age (P < 0.001), alcoh
ol consumption (P < 0.01), a higher number of siblings (P < 0.001) and a pe
rsonal history of peptic ulcer (P < 0.01), but inversely with a nonmanual o
ccupation (P < 0.001). Overall, H. pylori infection was unrelated to smokin
g, house pets, and a family history of gastroduodenal diseases. The prevale
nce of H. pylori infection was 72% in subjects reporting one or more dyspep
tic symptoms and 65% among asymptomatic participants (P < 0.001); a multiva
riate analysis showed that only epigastric pain was significantly, although
weal cly, associated with C-13-UBT positivity.
Conclusions: This large population-based study showed a prevalence of H. py
lori infection higher than that reported by serologic surveys in urban area
s. Current H. pylori infection was strongly associated with indicators of l
ower socioeconomic status, alcohol consumption and increasing age. A role o
f H. pylori infection in determining epigastric pain was suggested.