The majority of upper gastrointestinal bleeds stop spontaneously despite the low pH and proteolytic activity of gastric juice which inhibit coagulation and platelet aggregation. In order to investigate this paradox six healthy male volunteers received intragastric infusions of 160 ml autologous venous blood or 160 ml egg white acting as control in random order on separate days. Basal acid output was calculated before infusion, net acid secretion and gastric volume emptied were calculated after intragastric infusions. Serum gastrin concentrations were also measured before and after intragastric infusions and expressed as the integrated gastrin response. Basal acid output (mmol/h) was 4.7 (1.9) (mean (SEM)) before egg white infusion and 5.9 (2.6) before venous blood infusion. After egg white infusion net acid secretion (mmol/20 min) increased to 5.6 (3.1) compared with 2.3 (1.3) after venous blood infusion (p less than 0.05). The gastric volume emptied (ml/20 min) was less after venous blood infusion at 105 (28) compared with 321 (66) after egg white infusion (p less than 0.03). Integrated gastrin response was similar after venous blood and egg white infusion. When compared with an equivalent protein meal intragastric blood stimulates less acid secretion and delays gastric emptying. This effect may facilitate haemostasis after gastric bleeding.
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