Helicobacter pylori and Clostridium difficile in cystic fibrosis patients

Jacob Yahav*, Zmira Samra, Hannah Blau, Gabriel Dinari, Gabriel Chodick, Haim Shmuely

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe the prevalence of H. pylori and toxigenic Clostridium difficile (CD) infection and its relationship with gastrointestinal symptoms and pancreatic sufficiency (PS) or insufficiency (PI) in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. Stool specimens from 30 consecutive patients with CF, aged 1-44, and from 30 healthy similarly aged subjects were tested for the H. pylori antigen by specific monoclonal antibodies and for CD toxins by Tox A/B assay and Tox A assay. CF patients were assessed clinically and tested for specific H. pylori serum antibodies and for mutations. In CF patients, the prevalence of H. pylori antigen was 16.6% (5/30), compared to 30% (9/30) in controls. Of the 26 CF patients with PI, only 2 (7.6%) were infected by H. pylori, compared with 3 of the 4 (75%) patientswith PS (P=0.001). H. pylori infectionwas diagnosed in 3 of 5 (60%) CF patients carrying mild mutations, compared to 1 of 25 (4%) CF patients carrying severe mutations (P=0.01). Fourteen of 30 (46.6%) stool specimens from CF patients tested positive in the ToxA/B assay, and 3 of 14 tested positive for ToxA. No significant differences in antibiotic use, severity of lung disease, PI, chronic abdominal pain, or genotype were found between the two groups. None of the controls was positive for CD toxins. Prevalence of H. pylori infection in CF patients was lower than in similarly aged non-CF controls. CF patients with PI or a history of distal intestinal obstruction syndrome and those carrying mutations associated with a severe phenotype were protected against H. pylori infection. Almost half of the CF patients were asymptomatic carriers of CD producing mostly toxin B. More studies are needed to confirm our results in a larger group of CF patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2274-2279
Number of pages6
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Clostridium difficile
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Toxin


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