Objective: To determine the effect of chronic cigarette smoking on gastric mucosal blood flow and bicarbonate secretion.
Methods: Three groups, each consisting of eight dyspeptic patients with normal endoscopic features, were studied: group A contained non-smokers, group B light smokers (< 10 cigarettes/day) and group C heavy smokers (> 10 cigarettes/day). Blood flow was measured in the gastric antrum by laser-Doppler flowmetry, and basal bicarbonate secretion was determined in fasting gastric juice by the method of Feldman.
Results: Both mucosal blood flow and bicarbonate secretion were significantly reduced (P < 0.01) in group C.
Conclusion: In heavy smokers, gastric mucosal perfusion and alkali production are impaired. This can contribute to the noxious effects of smoking on the gastric mucosa. It remains to be determined whether these effects of smoking are causally related.