Duodenal ulcer. Incidence, risk factors, and predictive value of plasma pepsinogen

Dig Dis Sci. 1986 Nov;31(11):1178-84. doi: 10.1007/BF01296515.


In 1958 the Yale freshman class gave blood samples as part of a study intended to determine the predictive value of plasma pepsinogen (PP) for the subsequent development of duodenal ulcer (DU). We report a long-term follow-up of this cohort. A self-administered questionnaire designed to ascertain information about the development of peptic ulcers, and the presence of risk factors was mailed to 861 subjects with "active" addresses. A second questionnaire was mailed to each respondent's physician(s) to verify the diagnosis of DU. Completed questionnaires were returned, after three mailings, by 604 (70%) of the subjects. They reported 18 documented DUs, 15 since 1958, for an incidence of 1.1/1000 person years. Only smoking (P less than 0.05) and undergraduate physical inactivity (P less than 0.01) were identified as risk factors for DU. Family history; blood type; blood antigen secretor status; ingestion of coffee, alcohol, milk, salicylates, soda, or tea; and COPD were not identified as risk factors for DU. Patients with DU had higher mean PP values than those who did not (391.6 +/- 99.6 vs 346.6 +/- 106.7, mean +/- SD) but this was not statistically significant (P greater than 0.05). The predictive value of an elevated PP (greater than 450) for the development of DU was 7.9%, but a low or normal PP predicted the absence of a DU in 97.5% of subjects over a 22-year span.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Duodenal Ulcer / diagnosis
  • Duodenal Ulcer / epidemiology*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pepsinogens / blood*
  • Physical Fitness
  • Risk
  • Smoking
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States


  • Pepsinogens