The incidence of upper gastrointestinal bleeding from stress ulcers has decreased within the last 30 years. Improvements in intensive care medicine including advanced equipment for artificial ventilation, better sedoanalgesic therapies, and the use of stress ulcer prophylaxis are credited for the decline.
To determine the effectiveness of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) on gastric pH in patients exposed to a defined severe stress situation during a specified time period.
Prospective open study in a tertiary community hospital. A high dose (80 mg bolus followed by 8 mg/h) of either pantoprazol or omeprazol was infused in 17 patients with opiate dependence who were undergoing ultra-rapid opiate withdrawal by barbiturate anesthesia.
Mean outcome measure
Gastric pH did not change significantly in the majority of patients (mean pH 1.2 ± 0.9 immediately before, 1.5 ± 1.6 at 60 min after, and 1.3 ± 1.5 at 120 min after PPI infusion began). Gastric pH increased temporarily in two of the nine patients receiving omeprazol. In two of the eight patients, pantoprazol led to a late but sustained increase in gastric pH (pH 3.9 and 6.0 at 120 min post infusion).
High doses of PPIs are ineffective in elevating gastric pH in patients exposed to severe stress such as ultra-rapid opiate detoxification. Therefore, adequate sedoanalgesia might be the main factor responsible for preventing stress-related bleeding in critically ill patients.