BACKGROUND: The most recommended treatment for a Helicobacter pylori infection is high doses of combined antibiotics. The objective of this article is to perform a systematic review of the economic evaluation studies applied to assess the efficiency of diagnostic testing for H. pylori infections, so that their main characteristics can be identified and to learn from the literature how the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) issue is incorporated into these economic evaluations.
METHODS: We conducted a systematic review to compare the costs and clinical effectiveness of diagnostic strategies for H. pylori infections. We followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines and extracted the items from the Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS) checklist.
RESULTS: We found thirteen articles that were of good quality according to CHEERS: six studies focused on diagnostics of Helicobacter pylori infections associated with dyspepsia and four on duodenal ulcers. Testing was found to be the most cost-effective strategy in eight articles. Four studies considered AMR.
CONCLUSIONS: Testing was more cost-effective than empirical treatment, except in cases of high prevalence (as with developing countries) or when patients could be stratified according to their comorbidities. The introduction of AMR into the model may change the efficiency of the testing strategy.