AIMS: To evaluate the prevalence and significance of chemical gastritis, in comparison with gastritis related to Helicobacter pylori in patients receiving non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). METHODS: Two hundred and eighteen patients were studied, 174 of whom were taking NSAIDs. Chemical gastritis was defined as the presence of foveolar hyperplasia, muscle fibres in the lamina propria, oedema and vasodilation, in the absence of a chronic inflammatory cell infiltrate. RESULTS: Chemical gastritis was found in 46 (26%) patients taking NSAIDs, and three (7%) in subjects not taking these drugs (p less than 0.01). H pylori was detected in 56 (32%) subjects taking NSAIDs compared with 22 (50%) not taking these agents (p less than 0.02). Ulcers were found in 16 out of 72 patients (22%) taking NSAIDs and without H pylori infection or chemical gastritis compared with 27 out of 56 (48%) with H pylori related gastritis (p less than 0.01), and 25 out of 46 (54%) with chemical gastritis (p less than 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Peptic ulcers associated with the use of NSAIDs seem to occur more commonly in patients with chemical gastritis or H pylori infection. Patients taking NSAIDs also seem to have a greater prevalence of chemical gastritis but a lower prevalence of H pylori than those not taking these drugs.
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