Rheumatology International

, Volume 33, Issue 11, pp 2943–2948 | Cite as

Is Helicobacter pylori infection a risk factor for disease severity in systemic sclerosis?

  • Mislav RadićEmail author
  • Dušanka Martinović Kaliterna
  • Damir Bonacin
  • Jadranka Morović Vergles
  • Josipa Radić
  • Damir Fabijanić
  • Vedran Kovačić
Short Communication


Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is suspected to be one of the factors triggering systemic sclerosis (SSc). Data on the possible role of H. pylori are lacking. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of H. pylori infection in SSc patients. Forty-two SSc patients without dyspeptic symptoms were recruited—26 were H. pylori-positive and 16 were H. pylori-negative on the basis of invasive test. We evaluated the disease severity using clinical and laboratory parameters according to the Medsger Severity Scale. The level of SSc activity was evaluated according to Valentini activity score. The prevalence of H. pylori infection in population of SSc patients is 62 %. Severity of skin, gastrointestinal, and joint/tendon involvement was different between H. pylori-positive and -negative SSc patients (p < 0.001 for skin involvement, p = 0.002 and p = 0.03 for gastrointestinal and joint/tendon involvement, respectively) as well as erythrocyte sedimentation rate (p = 0.002). Severity score according to Medsger was higher in the H. pylori-positive than in the H. pylori-negative SSc patients (p < 0.001). Our data suggest that H. pylori infection correlates with severity of skin, gastrointestinal, and joint/tendon involvement in SSc patients. H. pylori-positive SSc patients showed higher severity score compared to H. pylori-negative. Therefore, H. pylori infection may play a role in the pathogenesis of SSc and also can provide some prognostic information.


Systemic sclerosis Helicobacter pylori Disease activity Disease severity 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mislav Radić
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dušanka Martinović Kaliterna
    • 1
  • Damir Bonacin
    • 2
  • Jadranka Morović Vergles
    • 3
  • Josipa Radić
    • 4
  • Damir Fabijanić
    • 5
  • Vedran Kovačić
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Rheumatology and Clinical ImmnulogyUniversity Hospital SplitSplitCroatia
  2. 2.Department of GastroenterologyUniversity Hospital SplitSplitCroatia
  3. 3.Department of Rheumatology and Clinical ImmunologyDubrava University HospitalZagrebCroatia
  4. 4.Department of NephrologyUniversity Hospital SplitSplitCroatia
  5. 5.Department of CardiologyUniversity Hospital SplitSplitCroatia

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