Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology
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Year : 1995  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 87-92

Refractory duodenal ulcer


Department of Medicine, Gastroenterology Division. College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Hussein M Al Freihi
Gastroenterology Division (59) College of Medicine, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2925, Riyadh 11461
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


PMID: 19864856

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Refractory or intractable ulcer is defined as an ulcer that fails to heal completely after eight to twelve weeks, despite appropriate treatment with a modern antiulcer therapy in a compliant patient. Refractory ulcer should be suspected in individuals diagnosed to have peptic ulcer if their symptoms persist longer than usual: occurrence of complications or simply their ulcers fail to heal, since up to 25% of such patients remain asymptomatic. Conditions associated with refractory ulcer include noncompliance, continuous consumption of nonsteroidal anti-inflam­matory drugs, acid hypersecretion, smoking. male gender and other factors with questionable role like advanced age, large ulcer size, prolonged duration of symptoms and the presence of complication like bleeding. Nonpeptic ulcers like tuberculosis, malignancy, Crohn's disease and primary intestinal lymphoma should always be considered in the differential diagnosis. Colonization with H. pylori which is well-known as a cause of frequent recurrences, has not been linked with refractoriness. Patients with refractory ulcers must undergo thorough re­evaluation including repeated endoscopies, obtaining biopsies for microbiology and histology and determination of serum-gastrin level. Once diseases with identifiable etiologies have been ruled out, aggressive medical management with single or multiple antiulcer drugs should be instituted. Such treatments will virtually heal all refractory ulcers. Surgery should be reserved for patients whose ulcers fail to respond to optimal medical therapy or those who develop com­plications necessitating surgical intervention.


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