Objectives: Recent studies in adults have examined the utility of immunohistochemistry (IHC) in detecting Helicobacter in gastric biopsy specimens and reached differing conclusions. Dedicated cost-benefit analysis of Helicobacter IHC in pediatric gastric biopsy specimens has not been performed.
Methods: From 1,955 pediatric gastric biopsies in a 1-year period, we identified 63 Helicobacter-positive and 120 Helicobacter-negative biopsy specimens. All cases were scored according to the Updated Sydney System for the severity of inflammation.
Results: We observed that pediatric Helicobacter infection was significantly associated with germinal center formation, active inflammation, oxyntic mucosa with moderate to severe chronic inflammation, and antral mucosa with any chronic inflammation, exclusive of mild and superficial chronic inflammation. At least one associated pattern was seen in each Helicobacter-positive biopsy specimen. In comparison with adults, pediatric Helicobacter-positive biopsy specimens are more likely to lack acute inflammation and more likely to show moderate to marked chronic inflammation.
Conclusions: We recommend performing Helicobacter IHC on pediatric gastric biopsy specimens with any of the above inflammatory patterns. This approach can sensitively identify pediatric patients with Helicobacter gastritis, limit IHC staining to approximately 30% of all gastric biopsy specimens, and reduce costs by up to $55,306.90 per 1,000 biopsy specimens.