Although gastric hypochlorhydria is a risk factor for gastroenteritis and for gastric cancer, no reliable, inexpensive, noninvasive test exists for screening or epidemiologic studies. We aimed to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of the blood quininium resin test (bQRT) for hypochlorhydria, against pH monitoring. Twelve fasting adult volunteers-seven with and five without H. pylori infection-ingested 80 mg/kg of quininium resin twice, once with and once without acid suppression. Gastric pH was monitored for 75 minutes; serum samples were obtained at times 0 and 75 minutes. The bQRT levels were compared to gastric pH, controlling for omeprazole use and H. pylori infection. Subjects with a median recorded pH > or =3.5 were considered hypochlorhydric. Using a bQRT level of 10 as a cutoff for hypochlorhydria, the sensitivity and specificity of the bQRT were 100% and 37.5%, respectively. The bQRT predicted omeprazole use more accurately than pH monitoring. In conclusions, The bQRT has a high sensitivity for hypochlorhydria, making it potentially useful in populations with a high prevalence of hypochlorhydria. In its current formulation, the bQRT's low specificity makes it less useful in low-risk population.