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Early prevention of liver injury by controlling risk factors deserves concern because of the heavy liver disease burden. Helicobacter pylori (HP) infection affects half of the world’s population and the relationship between it and early liver damage is unclear. This study focuses on assessing the correlation between them in the general population to provide clues to prevent liver disease. A total of 12,931 individuals underwent liver function and imaging tests as well as 13C/14C-urea breath tests. Results showed that the detection rate of HP was 35.9%, and the HP-positive group had a higher rate of liver injury (47.0% versus 44.5%, P = 0.007). Specifically, Fibrosis-4 (FIB-4) and alpha-fetoprotein levels in the HP-positive group were higher whereas the serum albumin level was lower. HP infection would raise the percentage of elevated aspartate aminotransferase (AST; 2.5% versus 1.7%, P = 0.006), elevated FIB-4 (20.2% versus 17.9%, P = 0.002), and abnormal liver imaging (31.0% versus 29.3%, P = 0.048). Most of these results remained stable after covariate adjustment but, for liver injury and liver imaging, the conclusions only held in young people (ORliver injury, odds ratio of liver injury, 1.127, P = 0.040; ORAST, 1.33, P = 0.034; ORFIB-4, 1.145, P = 0.032; ORimaging, 1.149, P = 0.043). Overall, HP infection might be associated with early liver injury, particularly in youth, suggesting that people with early liver injury should pay more attention to HP infection to prevent the occurrence of severe liver diseases.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Authors’ addresses: Wenling Chang, Tingting Chen, Weigui Ni, and Zhihao Xie, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, West China School of Public Health and West China Fourth Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China, E-mails: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org. Lin Cai and Juan Liao, Department of Gastroenterology, West China School of Public Health and West China Fourth Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China, and Non-Communicable Diseases Research Center, West China-PUMC C. C. Chen Institute of Health, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China, E-mails: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Chunxia Yang, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, West China School of Public Health and West China Fourth Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China, and Non-Communicable Diseases Research Center, West China-Peking Union Medical College C. C. Chen Institute of Health, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China, E-mail: email@example.com.