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1.  Prolonged treatment duration is required for successful Helicobacter pylori eradication with proton pump inhibitor triple therapy in Canada 
BACKGROUND:
Traditional seven-day proton pump inhibitor triple therapy for Helicobacter pylori eradication has recently shown disappointing results outside of Canada. Prolonging therapy may be associated with poorer compliance and, hence, may not have a better outcome in a real-world setting.
OBJECTIVE:
To compare the outcomes of seven- and 14-day triple therapy for first-line treatment of H pylori infection in an effectiveness setting in Canada.
METHODS:
A total of 314 consecutive treatment-naive, adult H pylori-infected patients were allocated to either a seven- or 14-day triple therapy regimen, with a subgroup of 172 consecutive patients quasi-randomized to treatment according to date of visit. Eradication was confirmed using either urea breath test or gastric biopsies. Analysis was by intention to treat.
RESULTS:
Eradication was achieved in a higher proportion of patients who underwent 14-day versus seven-day treatment regimens (overall: 85% versus 70% [P≤0.001]; subgroup: 83% versus 64% [P≤0.01]). Although successful eradication was also associated with older age and a diagnosis of ulcer disease, multivariate analysis revealed only longer treatment duration and lack of yogurt ingestion as independent predictors of successful eradication. There was a trend toward reduced success in the latter years of the study. Side effects were similar in both groups and were not prevented by yogurt ingestion.
CONCLUSIONS:
The currently recommended duration of proton pump inhibitor triple therapy in Canada should be increased from seven to 14 days, the latter having achieved an excellent result in this particular real-world setting. Yogurt added no benefit. Further study is required to compare 10-day with 14-day treatment regimens.
PMCID: PMC3956018  PMID: 23862170
Amoxicillin; Clarithromycin; Duration; Helicobacter pylori; Proton pump inhibitor; Triple therapy; Yogurt
2.  Colorectal cancer surveillance after index colonoscopy: Guidance from the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology 
BACKGROUND:
Differences between American (United States [US]) and European guidelines for colonoscopy surveillance may create confusion for the practicing clinician. Under- or overutilization of surveillance colonoscopy can impact patient care.
METHODS:
The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (CAG) convened a working group (CAG-WG) to review available guidelines and provide unified guidance to Canadian clinicians regarding appropriate follow-up for colorectal cancer (CRC) surveillance after index colonoscopy. A literature search was conducted for relevant data that postdated the published guidelines.
RESULTS:
The CAG-WG chose the 2012 US Multi-Society Task Force (MSTF) on Colorectal Cancer to serve as the basis for the Canadian position, primarily because the US approach was the simplest and comprehensively addressed the issue of serrated polyps. Aspects of other guidelines were incorporated where relevant. The CAG-WG recommendations differed from the US MSTF guidelines in three main areas: patients with negative index colonoscopy should be followed-up at 10 years using any of the appropriate screening tests, including colonos-copy, for average-risk individuals; among patients with >10 adenomas, a one-year interval for subsequent colonoscopy is recommended; and for long-term follow-up, patients with low-risk adenomas on both the index and first follow-up procedures can undergo second follow-up colonos-copy at an interval of five to 10 years.
DISCUSSION:
The CAG-WG adapted the US MSTF guidelines for colonoscopy surveillance to the Canadian health care environment with a few modifications. It is anticipated that the present article will provide unified guidance that will enhance physician acceptance and encourage appropriate utilization of recommended surveillance intervals.
PMCID: PMC3742480  PMID: 23616961
Canada; Colonoscopy; Colorectal cancer; Guideline; Surveillance
3.  The 2012 SAGE wait times program: Survey of Access to GastroEnterology in Canada 
BACKGROUND:
Periodically surveying wait times for specialist health services in Canada captures current data and enables comparisons with previous surveys to identify changes over time.
METHODS:
During one week in April 2012, Canadian gastroenterologists were asked to complete a questionnaire (online or by fax) recording demographics, reason for referral, and dates of referral and specialist visits for at least 10 consecutive new patients (five consultations and five procedures) who had not been seen previously for the same indication. Wait times were determined for 18 indications and compared with those from similar surveys conducted in 2008 and 2005.
RESULTS:
Data regarding adult patients were provided by 173 gastroenterologists for 1374 consultations, 540 procedures and 293 same-day consultations and procedures. Nationally, the median wait times were 92 days (95% CI 85 days to 100 days) from referral to consultation, 55 days (95% CI 50 days to 61 days) from consultation to procedure and 155 days (95% CI 142 days to 175 days) (total) from referral to procedure. Overall, wait times were longer in 2012 than in 2005 (P<0.05); the wait time to same-day consultation and procedure was shorter in 2012 than in 2008 (78 days versus 101 days; P<0.05), but continued to be longer than in 2005 (P<0.05). The total wait time remained longest for screening colonoscopy, increasing from 201 days in 2008 to 279 days in 2012 (P<0.05).
DISCUSSION:
Wait times for gastroenterology services continue to exceed recommended targets, remain unchanged since 2008 and exceed wait times reported in 2005.
PMCID: PMC3731118  PMID: 23472243
Access; Audit; Canada; Endoscopy; Gastroenterology; Wait time
4.  Helicobacter pylori in First Nations and recent immigrant populations in Canada 
Despite the decreasing prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection among most of the Canadian population, it remains high among Aboriginals and recent immigrants. Given the health risks and complications associated with H pylori infection, measures aimed at eradicating H pylori are especially useful, particularly in vulnerable groups, and even more so if they lead to a reduction in the conditions that predispose individuals to gastric cancer. Following a brief discussion on the pathogenic role of H pylori, the prevalence and epidemiology of H pylori infection, and the associated health consequences, this article reviews a conference held by the Canadian Helicobacter Study Group in October 2010, which gathered a panel of experts in several fields to address the health risks of H pylori infection in at-risk populations and the potential benefits of adopting an eradication strategy.
The diminishing prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection among most segments of the Canadian population has led to changes in the etiologies and patterns of associated upper gastrointestinal diseases, including fewer peptic ulcers and their complications. Canadian Aboriginals and recent immigrants are among populations in which the prevalence of H pylori infection remains high and, therefore, the health risks imposed by H pylori remain a significant concern. Population-based strategies for H pylori eradication in groups with a low prevalence of infection are unlikely to be cost effective, but such measures are attractive in groups in which the prevalence rates of infection remain substantial. In addition to a lower prevalence of peptic ulcers and dyspepsia, the public health value of eradication may be particularly important if this leads to a reduction in the prevalence of gastric cancer in high prevalence groups. Therefore The Canadian Helicobacter Study Group held a conference that brought together experts in the field to address these issues, the results of which are reviewed in the present article. Canadians with the highest prevalence of H pylori infection are an appropriate focus for considering the health advantages of eradicating persistent infection. In Canadian communities with a high prevalence of both H pylori and gastric cancer, there remains an opportunity to test the hypothesis that H pylori infection is a treatable risk factor for malignancy.
PMCID: PMC3275412  PMID: 22312609
Gastric cancer; Helicobacter pylori; Immigrants; Native Canadians
5.  Helicobacter pylori and immigrant health 
doi:10.1503/cmaj.112-2006
PMCID: PMC3255187  PMID: 22232338
6.  A one-year economic evaluation of six alternative strategies for the management of uninvestigated upper gastrointestinal symptoms in Canadian primary care 
BACKGROUND:
The cost-effectiveness of initial strategies in managing Canadian patients with uninvestigated upper gastrointestinal symptoms remains controversial.
OBJECTIVE:
To assess the cost-effectiveness of six management approaches to uninvestigated upper gastrointestinal symptoms in the Canadian setting.
METHODS:
The present study analyzed data from four randomized trials assessing homogeneous and complementary populations of Canadian patients with uninvestigated upper gastrointestinal symptoms with comparable outcomes. Symptom-free months, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) and direct costs in Canadian dollars of two management approaches based on the Canadian Dyspepsia Working Group (CanDys) Clinical Management Tool, and four additional strategies (two empirical antisecretory agents, and two prompt endoscopy) were examined and compared. Prevalence data, probabilities, utilities and costs were included in a Markov model, while sensitivity analysis used Monte Carlo simulations. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios and cost-effectiveness acceptability curves were determined.
RESULTS:
Empirical omeprazole cost $226 per QALY ($49 per symptom-free month) per patient. CanDys omeprazole and endoscopy approaches were more effective than empirical omeprazole, but more costly. Alternatives using H2-receptor antagonists were less effective than those using a proton pump inhibitor. No significant differences were found for most incremental cost-effectiveness ratios. As willingness to pay (WTP) thresholds rose from $226 to $24,000 per QALY, empirical antisecretory approaches were less likely to be the most cost-effective choice, with CanDys omeprazole progressively becoming a more likely option. For WTP values ranging from $24,000 to $70,000 per QALY, the most clinically relevant range, CanDys omeprazole was the most cost-effective strategy (32% to 46% of the time), with prompt endoscopy-proton pump inhibitor favoured at higher WTP values.
CONCLUSIONS:
Although no strategy was the indisputable cost-effective option, CanDys omeprazole may be the strategy of choice over a clinically relevant range of WTP assumptions in the initial management of Canadian patients with uninvestigated dyspepsia.
PMCID: PMC2947002  PMID: 20711528
Antisecretory therapy; Cost-effectiveness; Dyspepsia; Economic modelling; Endoscopy; Helicobacter pylori
7.  Survey of Access to GastroEnterology in Canada: The SAGE wait times program 
BACKGROUND:
Assessment of current wait times for specialist health services in Canada is a key method that can assist government and health care providers to plan wisely for future health needs. These data are not readily available. A method to capture wait time data at the time of consultation or procedure has been developed, which should be applicable to other specialist groups and also allows for assessment of wait time trends over intervals of years.
METHODS:
In November 2008, gastroenterologists across Canada were asked to complete a questionnaire (online or by fax) that included personal demographics and data from one week on at least five consecutive new consultations and five consecutive procedure patients who had not previously undergone a procedure for the same indication. Wait times were collected for 18 primary indications and results were then compared with similar survey data collected in 2005.
RESULTS:
The longest wait times observed were for screening colonoscopy (201 days) and surveillance of previous colon cancer or polyps (272 days). The shortest wait times were for cancer-likely based on imaging or physical examination (82 days), severe or rapidly progressing dysphagia or odynophagia (83 days), documented iron-deficiency anemia (90 days) and dyspepsia with alarm symptoms (99 days). Compared with 2005 data, total wait times in 2008 were lengthened overall (127 days versus 155 days; P<0.05) and for most of the seven individual indications that permitted data comparison.
CONCLUSION:
Median wait times for gastroenterology services continue to exceed consensus conference recommended targets and have significantly worsened since 2005.
PMCID: PMC2830635  PMID: 20186352
Access; Audit; Diagnosis; Endoscopy; Gastroenterology; Wait time
8.  The potential impact of contemporary developments in the management of patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease undergoing an initial gastroscopy 
BACKGROUND:
Recent developments may alter the approach to patients presenting with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)-like symptoms. A newly proposed Montreal consensus definition of Barrett’s esophagus includes all types of esophageal columnar metaplasia, with or without intestinal-type metaplasia. There is also increasing recognition of eosinophilic esophagitis (EE) in patients with GERD-like symptoms.
OBJECTIVE:
To quantify the impact of these developments on a multiphysician general gastroenterology practice in a tertiary care medical centre.
METHODS:
Medical charts of all patients having an initial gastroscopy for GERD-like symptoms over a one-year period were reviewed retrospectively, and audits of their endoscopic images and esophageal biopsies were performed.
RESULTS:
Of the 353 study participants, typical symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux were present in 87.7% and 23.2%, respectively. Less commonly, patients presented with atypical symptoms (eg, dysphagia in 9.4%). At endoscopy, 26% were found to have erosive esophagitis and 12% had endoscopically suspected esophageal metaplasia. Histological evaluation was available for 65 patients. Ten of the 65 biopsied patients (15%) met traditional criteria for Barrett’s esophagus (ie, exhibiting intestinal-type metaplasia), whereas 49 (75%) fulfilled the newly proposed consensus definition of Barrett’s esophagus. Five patients (7.7%) met the study criteria for EE (more than 20 eosinophils per high-power field), four of whom had not been previously recognized.
CONCLUSIONS:
Among patients presenting with GERD-like symptoms, the prevalence of Barrett’s esophagus may increase markedly if the Montreal definition is adopted. In addition, growing awareness of EE may lead to an increase in the prevalence of this diagnosis. Prospective studies of the management implications of these findings are warranted.
PMCID: PMC2694588  PMID: 19214284
Barrett’s esophagus; Eosinophilic esophagitis; Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
9.  Does blood urea nitrogen level predict severity and high-risk endoscopic lesions in patients with nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding? 
BACKGROUND:
Nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB) is a serious medical condition requiring prompt resuscitation and early endoscopic therapy in those with high-risk endoscopic lesions (HRLs). There are little or no data correlating sole blood urea nitrogen (BUN) level with the severity of nonvariceal UGIB or the presence of HRLs in the adult population.
OBJECTIVES:
To determine if the BUN level on presentation correlates with parameters of severity of UGIB (need for blood transfusion or intensive care unit [ICU] admission) or to the subsequent finding of HRL, and in so doing identify patients who will require early endoscopic intervention.
METHODS:
The Canadian Registry of patients with Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding undergoing Endoscopy was used to identify patients enrolled from the McGill University Health Centre (Montreal, Quebec) who presented with or developed acute nonvariceal UGIB while admitted. All comparisons were performed using Student’s t test or Wilcoxon’s signed rank test, as appropriate. Logistic regression modelling using a stepwise method was performed to identify independent predictors of severe nonvariceal UGIB and HRL.
RESULTS:
Two hundred nine patients were enrolled in the study. The mean age was 67±18 years and 59.8% were male. The mean BUN level was 13.4±9.4 mmol/L. Univariate analysis demonstrated that the BUN level was a significant predictor of ICU admission (BUN 14.7±10.4 mmol/L versus 12.0±8.0 mmol/L, P=0.035). However, when adjusted for systolic blood pressure, BUN level became a weaker predictor of ICU admission, just failing to achieve statistical significance (OR 1.03, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.06; P=0.08). Univariate analysis also demonstrated that BUN level was not a statistically significant predictor of blood transfusion requirement (BUN 14.1±10.6 mmol/L versus 13.6±8.6 mmol/L, P=0.508), nor of HRL (BUN 14.2±10.7 mmol/L versus 12.9±8.6 mmol/L, P=0.605).
CONCLUSION:
In patients with nonvariceal UGIB, the BUN level at initial presentation is a weak predictor of the severity of UGIB as defined by ICU admission, but is not helpful in identifying patients with a HRL.
PMCID: PMC2662899  PMID: 18414716
BUN; High-risk lesions (endoscopic); Predictors; Upper gastrointestinal bleed
10.  The impact of illness in patients with moderate to severe gastro-esophageal reflux disease 
BMC Gastroenterology  2005;5:23.
Background
Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common disease. It impairs health related quality of life (HRQL). However, the impact on utility scores and work productivity in patients with moderate to severe GERD is not well known.
Methods
We analyzed data from 217 patients with moderate to severe GERD (mean age 50, SD 13.7) across 17 Canadian centers. Patients completed three utility instruments – the standard gamble (SG), the feeling thermometer (FT), and the Health Utilities Index 3 (HUI 3) – and several HRQL instruments, including Quality of Life in Reflux and Dyspepsia (QOLRAD) and the Medical Outcomes Short Form-36 (SF-36). All patients received a proton pump inhibitor, esomeprazole 40 mg daily, for four to six weeks.
Results
The mean scores on a scale from 0 (dead) to 1 (full health) obtained for the FT, SG, and HUI 3 were 0.67 (95% CI, 0.64 to 0.70), 0.76 (95% CI, 0.75 to 0.80), and 0.80 (95% CI, 0.77 to 0.82) respectively. The mean scores on the SF-36 were lower than the previously reported Canadian and US general population mean scores and work productivity was impaired.
Conclusion
GERD has significant impact on utility scores, HRQL, and work productivity in patients with moderate to severe disease. Furthermore, the FT and HUI 3 provide more valid measurements of HRQL in GERD than the SG. After treatment with esomeprazole, patients showed improved HRQL.
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-5-23
PMCID: PMC1183201  PMID: 16004616
11.  The influence of demographic factors and health-related quality of life on treatment satisfaction in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease treated with esomeprazole 
Background
The correlation between treatment satisfaction and demographic characteristics, symptoms, or health-related quality of life (HRQL) in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is unknown. The objective of this study was to assess correlates of treatment satisfaction in patients with GERD receiving a proton pump inhibitor, esomeprazole.
Methods
Adult GERD patients (n = 217) completed demography, symptom, HRQL, and treatment satisfaction questionnaires at baseline and/or after treatment with esomeprazole 40 mg once daily for 4 weeks. We used multiple linear regressions with treatment satisfaction as the dependent variable and demographic characteristics, baseline symptoms, baseline HRQL, and change scores in HRQL as independent variables.
Results
Among the demographic variables only Caucasian ethnicity was positively associated with treatment satisfaction. Greater vitality assessed by the Quality of Life in Reflux and Dyspepsia (QOLRAD) and worse heartburn assessed by a four-symptom scale at baseline, were associated with greater treatment satisfaction. The greater the improvement on the QOLRAD vitality (change score), the more likely the patient is to be satisfied with the treatment.
Conclusions
Ethnicity, baseline vitality, baseline heartburn severity, and change in QOLRAD vitality correlate with treatment satisfaction in patients with GERD.
doi:10.1186/1477-7525-3-4
PMCID: PMC545938  PMID: 15649314
Demography; esomeprazole; Feeling Thermometer; GERD; QOLRAD; treatment satisfaction

Results 1-12 (12)