Helicobacter heilmannii-like spiral bacteria in gastric mucosal biopsies: Prevalence and clinical significance

N. Hilzenrat, E. Lamoureux, I. Weintrub, E. Alpert, M. Lichter, L. Alpert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Background. - Gastric Helicobacter pylori (Hp) is highly associated with histological gastritis and peptic ulcer disease, yet Helicobacter heilmannii (Hh, also known as Gastrospirillum hominis) may be a less frequent gastric pathogen about which less is known. Patients and Methods. - We evaluated 1223 gastric biopsies from 1042 upper endoscopies with biopsies performed over 1 year. Spiral bacteria were specifically sought in biopsies from 912 endoscopies. Clinical and pathologic data from patients with unusual spiral bacteria were tabulated and sera were evaluated for anti-Hp antibodies. Results. - The histologic prevalences of Hp and Hh-like bacteria were 59% and 0.5%, respectively, in 912 endoscopies. All four patients with Hh-like spiral bacteria had gastrointestinal symptoms and histologic gastritis. Two had immigrated from the Philippines and one from Belgium. Endoscopic findings and clinical course varied. One improved spontaneously; one improved following antibiotic therapy. One patient's symptoms and bacteria persisted without therapy. One patient coinfected with Hp was treated with apparent clearance of Hh but persistence of Hp. Conclusions. - Helicobacter heilmannii-like bacteria can be distinguished from Hp with routine histologic stains; both bacteria are irregularly distributed. Helicobacter heilmannii appears to be a significant though uncommon cause of gastric inflammation. Some patients with Hh-like bacteria may benefit from anti-Hp therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1149-1153
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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