Basal gastric acid output was reduced in 9 out of 14 infants and young children with malnutrition compared with 21 age-matched controls. In all the patients the response of the gastric mucosa to stimulation by pentagastrin was impaired, and gastritis of variable severity was present in 8 out of the 9 patients in who biopsies were performed. Impaired gastric acid secretion probably contributes towards bacterial overgrowth and diarrhoeal diseases in malnourished children.
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