Papers And Originals

Use of Gastric Function Tests by British Gastroenterologists

Br Med J 1971; 1 doi: (Published 23 January 1971) Cite this as: Br Med J 1971;1:196
  1. J. H. Baron,
  2. J. Alexander Williams


    A questionnaire was used to study the choice and use of gastric function tests by members of the British Society of Gastroenterology.

    Pentagastrin has largely replaced older drugs as the stimulant of choice for evoking maximal acid secretion. Insulin tests are being used in situations where they are unlikely to provide useful clinical information. Fewer physicians than surgeons measure gastric secretion, and they use tests less often. The reluctance of physicians to test patients with uninvestigated dyspepsia or gastric ulcer seems justified, but in patients having dyspepsia with negative x-ray films, or after gastrectomy or vagotomy, the greater investigative keenness of surgeons seems commendable. Only half the surgeons ever try to assess the completeness of their vagotomies, and in only one-third of this half is it their usual practice. Criticism is made of the practice of routine measurement of acid in patients with duodenal ulcer, and of the use of acid measurements to decide whether a patient should have surgery or which type of operation should be performed.