Proximal gastric vagotomy. The preferred operation for perforations in acute duodenal ulcer

J. Boey, F. J. Branicki, T. T. Alagaratnam, P. J. Fok, S. Choi, A. Poon, J. Wong

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45 Citations (Scopus)


Simple closure, the conventional operation for perforated acute duodenal ulcers, is associated with symptomatic relapse in a large proportion of patients. In order to assess the role of immediate definitive surgery, 78 fit patients with perforated acute ulcers were prospectively randomized to undergo either closure alone or proximal gastric vagotomy with closure (PGV). Patients taking potentially ulcerogenic drugs or who had severe stress were excluded from the study. Both groups were comparable with respect to age, sex, general medical health, duration of perforation, length of ulcer history, and presence of duodenal scarring. There was no hospital mortality. Minor complications occurred in 7.3% after closure and 10.8% after PGV. At 3 years follow-up, the cumulative recurrence rates were 36.6% and 10.6% after closure and PGV, respectively (p = 0.001). Eighty-five per cent of recurrences after closure were symptomatic, and half of them required reoperation. Duodenal scarring itself did not appear to influence the outcome after closure. PGV was not associated with dumping, diarrhea or other unwanted side effects. Although less than that in chronic ulcers, there is a substantial risk of symptomatic relapse after closure of perforated acute duodenal ulcers. With judicious patient selection, PGV effectively reduces this risk without incurring disabling side effects associated with other ulcer operations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-174
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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