AIM: To search the independent factors determining gastric juice acidity and to investigate the acidity of gastric juices in various benign and malignant upper gastrointestinal diseases. METHODS: Fasting gastric juice acidity of 165 healthy subjects and 346 patients with esophageal ulcer (n = 21), gastric ulcer (n = 136), duodenal ulcer (n = 100) or gastric cancer (n = 89) were measured and compared. Additionally, gastric specimens were taken from the antrum and body for rapid urease test and histological examination. RESULTS: Multivariate analysis revealed that bile stain of gastric juice, high acute inflammatory score of the corpus, and atrophy of the corpus were independent risk factors for the development of gastric hypoacidity with odds ratios of 3.1 (95% CI: 1.3-7.3), 3.1 (95% CI: 1.2-7.9) and 3.5 (95% CI: 1.3-9.2). Esophageal ulcer and duodenal ulcer patients had a lower pH level (1.9 and 2.1 vs 2.9, both P < 0.05) of gastric juices than healthy subjects. In contrast, gastric ulcer and gastric cancer patients had a higher pH level (3.4 and 6.6 vs 2.9, both P < 0.001) than healthy controls. Hypoacidity existed in 22%, 5%, 29%, 5% and 88% of healthy subjects, esophageal ulcer, gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer and gastric cancer patients, respectively. CONCLUSION: Bile reflux, atrophy and dense neutrophil infiltrate of the corpus are three independent factors determining the acidity of gastric juice.
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