Prevalence of silent gastric ulcer, erosions or severe acute gastritis in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus--a cross-sectional study

Author(s): Boehme MW, Autschbach F, Ell C, Raeth U


Background/aims: Severe gastric inflammation or ulcer disease can alter gastric motility and influence sufficient glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, visceral neuropathy may reduce the perception of typical gastrointestinal symptoms in these patients. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the prevalence of silent severe acute gastritis, gastric ulcers or erosions in asymptomatic patients with diabetes mellitus and to determine potential predictive parameters.

Methodology: Seventy-two patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and little or no dyspeptic symptoms were investigated by endoscopy of the upper gastrointestinal tract under screening conditions. Before endoscopy the presence of gastrointestinal symptoms and standard laboratory parameters were determined. In addition, the presence of Helicobacter pylori infection was investigated by rapid urease test and histology.

Results: Highly active gastric inflammation was found in 34 patients (gastric ulcers in 10, gastric erosions in 21, and histologically acute, grade two or three gastritis in 3 patients). Episodic heartburn was significantly associated with highly active gastric inflammation (odds ratio 2.96 (1.05-8.32), p = 0.036). Elevated levels of C-reactive-protein and blood leukocyte counts proved to be of positive predictive value for highly active gastric inflammation in patients without other causes of acute inflammatory diseases (odds ratio 3.52 (p = 0.026) and 7.64 (p = 0.007) respectively). No significant association was found for gender, age, duration of disease, BMI, considerably raised HbA1c (>8.5%), complications of diabetic disease, general gastrointestinal symptoms, Helicobacter pylori infections and therapy with acetylsalicylic acid on 100 mg/d.

Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that severe acute gastric inflammation or ulcer disease can occur with high prevalence in patients with diabetes mellitus with little or no dyspeptic symptoms. Additional endoscopic investigations might be of particular diagnostic value in patients with inexplicable raised levels of inflammatory parameters like C-reactive-protein or blood leukocyte counts.

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