One hundred patients who had undergone operation for duodenal ulcer (68 vagotomy and gastroenterostomy; seven vagotomy and pyloroplasty; 22 gastrectomy and three gastroenterostomy) 10 or more years previously each underwent endoscopy. Biopsies were taken and gastric juice aspirated for measurement of pH and nitrite concentration. Patients were divided into five histological grades; chronic superficial gastritis (+/- minimal atrophic gastritis) (35), atrophic gastritis/intestinal metaplasia (30), mild dysplasia (21), moderate/severe dysplasia (13) and carcinoma (one). A wide spectrum of pH values was found with 35 patients having a fasting intragastric pH below 4.0 and 65 above 4.0. A strong relationship was found between histological grade and pH. Patients with chronic superficial gastritis had a fasting intragastric pH below 4.0 more frequently than those with moderate/severe dysplasia (p less than 0.001). Gastric juice nitrite concentrations were higher in the moderate/severe dysplasia group than in the chronic superficial gastritis group (p = 0.02). The strong correlation between pH and nitrite concentration, previously documented, was confirmed. The implications of these findings in the pathogenesis of carcinogenesis in the postoperative stomach are discussed.
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