Selective Treatment of Duodenal Ulcer with Perforation

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Selective treatment of duodenal ulcer with perforation has been based on several premises: 1) The natural history of the ulcer following closure of a perforation is generally favorable with an acute and unfavorable with a chronic ulcer. 2) An upper gastrointestinal series with water soluble contrast media can reliably document a spontaneously sealed perforation. 3) With a spontaneous seal, nonsurgical therapy is an acceptable option and is preferable for an acute ulcer or a chronic ulcer with poor surgical risk. 4) The treatment of choice for an unsealed perforation of an acute ulcer is simple surgical closure. 5) The treatment of choice of perforation of a chronic ulcer with acceptable surgical risk is an ulcer definitive operation. Sixty cases of perforation of duodenal ulcer have been treated. Nonsurgical therapy was employed without complication in eight cases with radiologically documented spontaneous seal. Truncal vagotomy and pyloroplasty in 36 cases and truncal vagotomy and antrectomy in two cases were each without mortality. Four fatalities occurred among 13 cases of closure and omental patch, each a case with severe associated disease. The mortality was 6.7% among the 60 cases; 2.4% for chronic ulcer and 16% for acute ulcer.

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