A hospital series of 1042 duodenal ulcer patients was examined to determine the relationship of the age of onset of ulcer dyspepsia with the blood group and with the family history of ulcer dyspepsia. It was found that those patients whose symptoms begin in the first two decades of life (early onset patients) contain a significantly larger proportion of group A, B, and AB subjects and a significantly stronger family history of dyspepsia than those whose symptoms begin from the fourth decade of life onwards (late onset patients), in whom blood group O prevails. The group O status is shown to be associated with a significant proneness to duodenal ulceration and a significant proneness to bleed, and in the late onset patients a significant proneness to bleed recurrently and severely. Bleeding is the predominent complication in the early onset patients. There is a significantly increased tendency for the late onset ulcers to perforate, to become stenosed, to have severe pain, and to be virulent--that is, to be multiple, post-bulbar, or giant. While these features do not appear to be related to the effect of ageing, the occurrence of associated gastric ulceration and the mortality rate was shown to be related.

DOI 10.1136/gut.17.3.169