Gastric secretion from 24 subjects was collected by continuous nasogastric aspiration during the plateau of secretion evoked by intravenous histamine diphosphate, 0·01 mg/kg/hr. Simultaneously, phenol red was instilled at a constant rate into the proximal part of the stomach. Concentrations of phenol red in 15-minute aspirates were measured, and used to deduce pyloric losses and the reasons for random variation in the volumes aspirated.
The average coefficient of variation in the volume was 26%, irrespective of the nature of the nasogastric tube. Correction by phenol red reduced this value to 21%. The coefficient of variation of volume diminished as secretion rate increased. Pyloric losses amounted to 7 ml/15 min, and were independent of the secretion rate. The quantitative effect of these errors upon the assessment of gastric secretion was minimal at high secretion rates but important at low rates.
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