BACKGROUNDPeptic ulcer disease can lead to serious complications including massive hemorrhage or bowel perforation. The modern treatment of peptic ulcer disease has transitioned from the control of gastric acid secretion to include antibiotic therapy in light of the identification of Helicobacter pylori as a causative infectious organism. We sought to determine trends related to this discovery by using a national database.MATERIALS AND METHODSPatient discharges with peptic ulcer disease and associated sequelae were queried from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, 1993 to 2007, under the auspices of a data user agreement. To account for the Nationwide Inpatient Sample weighting schema, design-adjusted analyses were used. Standard error was calculated using SUDAAN software (Research Triangle International, NC, USA).RESULTSDecreases in the incidences of gastrointestinal perforation, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, and surgical procedures most specific to peptic ulcer disease were statistically significant over the study period [range of P value (two tailed) = 0.000 - 0.00353; significant at P < 0.001 to < 0.01]. The incidence of H. pylori rose dramatically, peaking at an estimated 97,823 cases in 1998 [SE = 3155; 95% CI = 6,184]. Since that time it has decreased and then stabilized.CONCLUSIONSThe identification of H. pylori as the causative agent in the majority of peptic ulcer disease has revolutionized the understanding and management of the disease. Medical conditions and surgical procedures associated with end-stage peptic ulcer disease have significantly decreased according to analysis of selected index categories. Resident physician education objectives may need to be modified in light of these trends. REVIEW CRITERIA: We reviewed patients with peptic ulcer disease. The database used was the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, 1993 to 2007. MESSAGE FOR THE CLINIC: Medical therapy has resulted in decreased morbidity from H. pylori infection as it is the causative agent in the majority of peptic ulcer disease. Aggressive screening and treatment of this infection will lead to further reduction in morbidity.