Objective: To test in vitro the ability of sucralfate to protect a blood clot from peptic digestion by gastric juice. Material and Methods: Blood clots adhering to the bottom of plastic tubes were exposed to native acidic gastric juice or gastric juice to which Al-Mg antacids, sucralfate or alkali had been added. The tubes were tilted regularly at room temperature and clot digestion monitored by measuring the diameters of the clots. After 15 h, the liquids, but not the adherent clots, were poured out and the tubes refilled with native acidic gastric juice. Further clot digestion was measured, as before. Results: Native gastric juice digested the clots completely during approximately 7 h, while in neutralized gastric juice or in gastric juice containing antacids or sucralfate no digestion was seen. In the second experiment, native gastric juice completely digested all remaining clots, except those previously exposed to sucralfate. A dose-response study indicated that gastric juice containing 3% or more of sucralfate had this long-lasting, clot-protective effect. Conclusions: In vitro, sucralfate adheres to and protects blood clots from digestion by gastric juice pepsin. This unique effect of sucralfate may be of clinical relevance in the treatment of bleeding peptic ulcers.

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