Background: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection represents one of the most common chronic bacterial infections in developing countries. However, in Sudan, the infection is not well diagnosed with standard laboratory methods in many parts of the country. This study aimed to detect H. pylori in gastric biopsies of patients with gastric disorders, using three diagnostic methods.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 100 patients in Gezira state, central Sudan. Giemsa stain for histopathological examination (HPE), rapid urease test (RUT), and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques were performed to detect H. pylori from the gastric biopsy samples as per standard assays.
Results: Most of the patients were males (66%), from rural areas (72%) and in the age group 31 to 50 years. H. pylori were identified in 85% of the samples by at least one of the three tests. The highest positivity was detected by HPE (83%), followed by PCR (67%) and RUT (63%), while 59% were positive by the three diagnostic methods. PCR showed higher sensitivity (80.72% vs. 73.49%) and specificity (100% vs. 88.24%) than RUT. Positive predictive values were reported as 100% for PCR and 96.83% for RUT. Considering PCR as a gold standard method, HPE revealed higher sensitivity (100%) than RUT (88.06%). On the contrary, RUT showed higher specificity (87.88%) than PCR (51.52%). There were no significant associations between H. pylori infection patients' gender (p = 0.747). Loss of weight (p = 0.007) and nausea (p = 0.032) were significantly associated with H. pylori infection.
Conclusions: There was a high prevalence of H. pylori infection in central Sudan. This highlights the need to analyze epidemiological status, virulence factors, and strain characteristics to control disease transmission. PCR is a reliable and valuable technique in detecting H. pylori infection from gastric biopsy samples.