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October 21, 1974

Nasogastric Suction in Pancreatitis

Author Affiliations

Wadsworth Hospital Center Los Angeles

JAMA. 1974;230(3):375. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240030017014

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To the Editor.—  We wish to respond to Dr. Palmer's editorial critique (229:73, 1974) of our article "Nasogastric Suction in the Treatment of Alcoholic Pancreatitis" (229:51, 1974). The results of our study indicated that nasogastric suction provided no clear-cut therapeutic advantage over no suction in the treatment of attacks of mild to moderately severe, uncomplicated, acute alcoholic pancreatitis.Dr. Palmer dismisses these results: Misappropriation of the scientific method results when a clinical trial utilizes case material that is not classified precisely. Consequently the mix of patients proves too heterogenous to permit a fair effort at comparison.... Apparently, he believes that we erred by grouping mild and moderately severe cases of pancreatitis together. This raises two questions: (1) Were our treatment groups satisfactorily matched in regard to severity? and (2) Is there a category of pancreatitis patient that we failed to identify that is benefited by suction?As described in the