Preservation of the Pylorus in Pancreaticoduodenectomy: A Follow-up Evaluation

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We have previously reported our efforts to minimize postgastrectomy symptoms in two patients with benign disease who underwent resection of the head of the pancreas and the duodenum. In these cases the pylorus and first portion of the duodenum were preserved during pancreaticoduodenectomy. Our experience has now been extended to encompass 18 patients, eight of whom were available for comprehensive evaluation an average of six months postoperation. These studies have attempted to differentiate malabsorption of pancreatic insufficiency from possible gastrointestinal dysfunction of the new alimentary connection. Pancreatic insufficiency was evaluated by a 72-hour stool collection and radioactive trioctanoate (RATO) test. Gastrointestinal absorption was evaluated by D-xylose excretion and the Schilling test, as well as serum vitamin A, vitamin B-12, carotene, folate, iron, and total iron binding capacity. Gastrointestinal secretion and motility were assessed by using pyloric fluoroscopy, gastric barium emptying, the Hunt test, and gastric acid analysis. Finally, a questionnaire regarding clinical symptoms of postgastrectomy syndromes and malabsorption was answered. Although every patient exhibited marked pancreatic insufficiency by laboratory tests, 88% described normal formed bowel movements, and weight loss was claimed by only 25%. Other test findings were generally normal. While the follow-up period has been limited to three years, the current data demonstrate that gastrointestinal function subsequent to preservation of the pylorus has not thus far predisposed to postgastrectomy syndromes or marginal ulcers. AH of the patients required intensive pancreatic enzyme replacement.

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