Hansen's disease and the digestive system: clinical symptoms and gastric secretory profile at baseline conditions and following maximum stimulation with pentagastrin.
The incidence of digestive symptoms in 100 patients with Hansen's disease was evaluated in this study, following a standardized questionnaire. A correlation between the frequency of symptoms, the form of the disease, and the length of treatment was investigated. Digestive symptoms were found in 31 patients (31%). No statistically significant difference was found between the presence of symptoms and the length of the disease or between the multibacillary and the paucibacillary form of the disease. However, a positive correlation between digestive symptoms and Hansen's disease was found in the multibacillary form of the disease only for patients treated for more than 12 months. Baseline and pentagastrin-stimulated gastric acid secretion was studied in 30 Hansen's disease patients and in 10 controls. A Iower basal acid output was observed in patients with Hansen's disease, but no statistical difference was found. Pentagastrin-stimulated gastric acid secretion was statistically different in Hansen's disease patients, as compared to controls. A Iower pentagastrin-stimulated acid secretion was found in Hansen's disease patients under treatment, as compared to untreated patients, but the difference was not statistically significant.