Vagotomy/drainage is superior to local oversew in patients who require emergency surgery for bleeding peptic ulcers

Vanessa T. Schroder, Theodore N. Pappas, Steven N. Vaslef, Sebastian G. De La Fuente, John E. Scarborough*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE:: To compare early postoperative outcomes of patients undergoing different types of emergency procedures for bleeding or perforated gastroduodenal ulcers. BACKGROUND:: Although definitive acid-reducing procedures are being used less frequently during emergency ulcer surgery, there is little published data to support this change in practice. METHODS:: A retrospective analysis of data for patients from the 2005-2011 American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database who underwent emergency operation for bleeding or perforated peptic ulcer disease was performed to determine the association between surgical approach (local procedure alone, vagotomy/drainage, or vagotomy/gastric resection) and 30-day postoperative outcomes. Multivariable regression analysis was used to adjust for a number of patient-related factors. RESULTS:: A total of 3611 patients undergoing emergency ulcer surgery (775 for bleeding, 2374 for perforation) were included for data analysis. Compared with patients undergoing local procedures alone, vagotomy/gastric resection was associated with significantly greater postoperative morbidity when performed for either ulcer perforation or bleeding. For patients with perforated ulcers, vagotomy/drainage produced similar outcomes as local procedures but required a significantly greater length of postoperative hospitalization. Conversely, vagotomy/drainage was associated with a significantly lower postoperative mortality rate than local ulcer oversew when performed for bleeding ulcers. CONCLUSIONS:: Simple repair is the procedure of choice for patients requiring emergency surgery for perforated peptic ulcer disease. For patients requiring emergency operation for intractable ulcer bleeding, vagotomy/drainage is associated with lower postoperative mortality than with simple ulcer oversew.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1111-1118
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Bleeding duodenal ulcer
  • Gastric resection
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Postoperative outcomes
  • Vagotomyx


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