The effects of 1 and 4 micrograms/kg/h somatostatin on pentagastrin-stimulated gastric mucosal blood flow and acid secretion were investigated in 12 normal subjects and in 12 patients with cirrhosis of the liver. Each dose of somatostatin was given intravenously to six normal subjects and to six patients. Gastric mucosal blood flow was measured by the neutral red clearance of the stomach. Pentagastrin at a dose of 0.67 micrograms/kg/h stimulated acid secretion less in patients with cirrhosis of the liver than in normal subjects. In normal subjects 1 micrograms/kg/h somatostatin induced a parallel decline of gastric mucosal blood flow and gastric secretion; with 4 micrograms/kg/h somatostatin mucosal blood flow was inhibited more than gastric secretion. In patients with cirrhosis of the liver gastric mucosal blood flow remained unaffected by both doses of somatostatin, while acid secretion was slightly decreased. It is concluded that somatostatin can affect gastric mucosal blood flow independently of acid secretion. Somatostatin may be ineffective in the treatment of gastric haemorrhage in patients with cirrhosis of the liver.
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