Upper endoscopic and gastric acid output studies were done in 51 patients with homozygous sickle cell (SS) disease and recurrent epigastric pain. Twenty (39%) had abnormalities in the upper gastrointestinal tract including 18 (35%) with peptic ulcers. Mean basal and maximum acid output were similar in patients with and without duodenal ulcer (DU). Because DU in SS disease does not appear to be associated with high acid outputs observed in other populations, it may reflect reduced mucosal resistance, possibly resulting from ischaemia. This hypothesis was supported by the significantly lower fetal haemoglobin level among SS-DU patients.
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