In 80 patients with duodenal ulcer, the effects of various factors--symptoms, endoscopic findings, and peak acid output (PAO)--on the healing rate were studied during eight weeks of outpatient therapy with low-dose antacid (neutralising capacity less than 50 mmol HCl/d). Fifty-six per cent of the ulcers healed. The following unfavourable factors were found to cause a significant delay in ulcer healing: a long duration of pain in the last ulcer relapse and the present period of ulcer pain, smoking, stenosis of the duodenal bulb, and a high PAO. Multiple regression analysis showed that three factors (duration of the present ulcer pain, smoking, and stenosis of the duodenum) had a significant influence on healing rate. According to the results obtained with this method, the patients with no or only one unfavourable factor (n = 35) had the best healing rate: 80%, compared with patients who had two (n = 31) or three (n = 14) unfavourable factors. The healing rate of the latter two groups was 41% and 28%, respectively (p less than 0.001). A prognostic score based on these three factors represents the severity of duodenal-ulcer disease with regard to the healing process under placebo-like doses of antacid.
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