Survey of general practitioners' knowledge about Helicobacter pylori infection
1 Department of Public Health, Ondokuz Mayis University School of Medicine, Samsun, Turkey
2 Department of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology, Ondokuz Mayis University School of Medicine, Samsun, Turkey
BMC Gastroenterology 2005, 5:4 doi:10.1186/1471-230X-5-4Published: 26 January 2005
Helicobacter pylori, occurring throughout the world and causing gastroduodenal diseases, is one of the most common chronic bacterial agents in humans. The purpose of this study was to measure the general practitioners' (GPs) knowledge and practices pertaining to H. pylori infection.
A cross-sectional type questionnaire survey was conducted in all of 19 primary health care centres (PHCC) in Samsun, Turkey, between November 1 and December 31, 2003. The questionnaire was sent to 124 GPs and 109 (87.9 %) of those filled in. They were requested to answer the questions on the knowledge, sources of medical information, diagnostic tests and treatment to H. pylori.
Medical journals were the most frequently used source of information on H. pylori, being cited by 86 (78.9%) of GPs. Ninety-two (84.4%) of the GPs reported having used one or more tests and 17 (15.6%) never used any test for the diagnosis of H. pylori infection. Only 9.8% had used stool antigen test for diagnosis. GPs reported that they would prescribe symptomatic treatment without ordering diagnostic tests for 29 (26.6%). 54.1% of the GPs explain that they sent patients with H. pylori infection to a specialist, and most used a triple drug regimen containing a PPI. Treatment duration varies between 7 to 28 days. 80.7 of the GPs treat patients for 14 days.
GPs may not have enough knowledge about the importance of stool antigen test or possibility of usage of this test. GPs have not sufficient knowledge about the difference between symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. It is thought that GPs preferred to treat the patients with suspected ulcer empirically or to send them to a specialist because of the limited diagnostic conditions. The efforts to educate the GPs about the algorithms regarding the management of H. pylori infection during post-graduation period should be improved in PHCCs.