Remembering the treatment of ulcer disease


Category : Medical Rants

1975, I began my internship. This most common surgery at the VA Hospital (and perhaps the country) was the Billroth II. On the medicine service in those days, we all had a 30 minute talk on the complications of Billroth II.

Early 1980s, cimetidine hits the market and the Billroth II becomes a rare surgical procedure. Cimetidine, while a good drug, was soon surpassed by other H2 blockers.

Later 1980s, the first PPI (omeprazole) becomes available. Now many more patients remain asymptomatic with their ulcer disease.

In the later 1980s, we finally accepted a crazy theory – a bacteria (h pylori causes most ulcer disease. This theory resulted in a well deserved Nobel Prize in Medicine.

What we learned about ulcer disease and its management changed multiple times during the first 15 years of my medical career. I suspect we will learn more about ulcer disease over the next 15 years. After all, as I wrote recently, medical science advances periodically with closer approximations to the truth. I doubt that often “know” truth in medicine.

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Comments (1)

Oh my, I have not heard the term Billroth in decades (I graduated from nursing school in 1978), but I remember patients undergoing the procedure!

And I remember when Tagamet was considered nothing short of a miracle! : )

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