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Peptic ulcer disease 

Peptic ulcer disease
Chapter:
Peptic ulcer disease
Author(s):

Joseph Sung

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0295
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date: 03 March 2021

Helicobacter pylori infection, use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including aspirin, and smoking are the most important causes of peptic ulcer disease. Peptic ulcer disease is characterized by a history of waxing and waning symptoms of localized, dull, aching pain in the upper abdomen. Bleeding is the most common complication; free perforation of the stomach or duodenum into the peritoneal cavity is uncommon but serious. The diagnosis of peptic ulcer disease is made by endoscopy, which offers an opportunity for biopsy of gastric ulcers (which may be malignant) and reveals important prognostic indicators in patients with bleeding ulcers. A single daily dose of a proton pump inhibitor gives quick relief of symptoms and effective healing of peptic ulcers in 4 to 6 weeks. The management of patients with upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage requires a multidisciplinary medical and surgical approach. Early risk stratification based on clinical and endoscopic criteria allows delivery of appropriate care, with endoscopic intervention now widely accepted as the first line of therapy. This should be followed by administration of a high dose of an intravenous proton pump inhibitor to further reduce recurrent bleeding. Treatment of H. pylori is a cure for peptic ulcer disease in most patients. This usually requires at least two antimicrobial agents, with the most popular triple therapy combining a proton pump inhibitor with any two of amoxicillin, metronidazole, and clarithromycin for 7 to 14 days. Eradication of H. pylori infection, avoidance of high-dose NSAIDs or aspirin, and the maintenance use of proton pump inhibitors in high-risk individuals are the best ways to prevent recurrence of ulcer and ulcer complications.

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