Objectives: Patients with chronic pancreatitis and exocrine insufficiency have lower intraduodenal pH compared to controls. It has been assumed that abnormal low intraduodenal pH in these patients not only results from impaired pancreatic bicarbonate secretion but also from an increased gastric acid load to the duodenum.
Methods: We have tested this hypothesis by combined intragastric and intraduodenal 24 h pH monitoring in nine chronic pancreatitis patients with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency and nine healthy control subjects during standardized test conditions. Postprandial gastrin and cholecystokinin release were also determined.
Results: Median 24-h intraduodenal pH (5.90 vs. 6.00) and intragastric pH (1.60 vs. 1.70) were not significantly different between patients and controls. However, in the 2-h postprandial periods intraduodenal pH was below five for a significantly higher percentage of time in chronic pancreatitis patients compared to controls (lunch: 14.5% vs. 0.17%, P=0.011; dinner: 24.1% vs. 5.75%, P=0.05). The post-dinner intragastric pH was below three for a significantly higher percentage of time in chronic pancreatitis patients vs. controls (72.2 vs. 48.9%, P=0.04). Postprandial gastrin release was not significantly different between the two groups. Postprandial secretion of cholecystokinin (CCK), as enterogastrone, was significantly (P < 0.01) reduced in chronic pancreatitis patients (78 +/- 13 pmol/L, 120 min) compared to controls (155 +/- 14 pmol/L, 120 min).
Conclusions: Median intraduodenal and intragastric pH are not significantly decreased in patients with chronic pancreatitis and exocrine insufficiency but the postprandial time with an acidic pH in the duodenum (pH < 5) and in the stomach (pH < 3) is significantly (P </= 0.05) increased.