Digestive System Case Study 3 *


Harold, a fifty-eight year old grocery store manager, had recently been waking up in the middle of the night with abdominal pain. This was happening several nights a week. He was also experiencing occasional discomfort in the middle of the afternoon. Harold decided to schedule an appointment with his physician.


The doctor noted that Harold’s appetite had suffered as a result of the pain he was experiencing and as a result of the fear that what he was eating may be responsible for the pain. Otherwise, Harold seemed fine.

The doctor ordered an endoscopy.  The endoscopy revealed that Harold had a peptic ulcer. Analysis of a tissue sample taken from the site showed that Harold also had an infection that was caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria.





1. Decribe the mechanical and biochemical processes of digestion. Indicate where each takes place.

2. Describe the functions of the following components of gastric juice.

a.         Hydrochloric acid

b.         Pepsinogen

c.         Pepsin

d.             Intrinsic factor


3. Elaborate on the cause of a peptic ulcer? 

4Why don’t the components of gastric juice damage the wall of the stomach in the absence of a H. pylori infection?

5. How would this patient’s level of pepsinogen secretion compare to a healthy individual?

6. Why don’t most other types of bacteria produce ulcers?

7. What treatments would the doctor recommend?


*adapted from McGraw Hill Online Learning Center, Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology,3rd ed.Seely/Stephens/Tate