Previous studies have shown that Helicobacter pylori (HP) infection is associated with increased activity and severity of systemic sclerosis (SSc), hence we aimed to evaluate the effect of HP eradication on various symptoms and inflammatory indices.
The SSc patients without dyspeptic symptoms were prospectively enrolled in this 18-month cross-sectional study. Patients were divided into two groups based on determination of HP infection. The infected group was treated in accordance with the current HP eradication protocol. Assessment of disease activity, severity and organ involvement was performed every 6 months.
A total of 42 consecutive SSc patients without dyspepsia and variable disease activity and severity were recruited. Levels of modified Rodnan skin score, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C reactive protein (CRP) significantly decreased following HP eradication (p < 0.001, p < 0.001 and p = 0.001, respectively), and in the HP-negative patient group ESR and CRP values increased (p = 0.03, p = 0.002). Eradication of HP in the group of infected patients induced progressive and significant improvement of disease activity and severity over time compared to baseline (p < 0.01, p < 0.001, respectively), whereas in the HP-negative patient group these scores remained unchanged. In our study, HP eradication was associated with an improvement of clinical symptoms and disease activity.
These findings suggest that HP detection and subsequent eradication could be beneficial in the management of SSc patients. Although, HP eradication seems to be advantageous in infected SSc patients, larger controlled studies are needed for a potential recommendation.