Duodenogastric reflux (DGR) was investigated with a sodium ion selective electrode in 10 normal controls, 10 patients with persistent pain after gastric surgery, and five patients with gastric ulcer. During an average study time of two and a half hours, normal controls had reflux for 12% of the study, whereas patients after gastric surgery had reflux for 91% of the study time (p < 0.0002). Patients with a gastric ulcer had reflux on average for 67% of the study (p < 0.001). The patients who had had gastric surgery had several symptoms, but there was no association between the number or nature of symptoms and the severity of DGR as determined by the sodium electrode. Patients with positive bile provocation tests did not show any significant difference in the duration of reflux compared with those with a negative provocation test (79% and 87%). There was also no relation between the results of the provocation test and the number and nature of symptoms. Continuous monitoring of intragastric sodium ions with a selective electrode is a practical means of assessing DGR. Results suggest that symptoms due to DGR may be related to the sensitivity of the gastric lining as well as the amounts of duodenal contents flowing back into the stomach.
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