SURGICAL procedures which divide the greater splanchnic nerve or its communications with the thoracic ganglions deprive the stomach of its preganglionic sympathetic nerve supply. Neither clinical experience nor experimental studies have disclosed precisely how the sympathetic nerves affect the secretion of gastric juice. Recent reviews of the literature by Shafer and Kittle1 and by Smithwick and Kneisel2 reveal considerable disagreement on this subject.
We are not concerned here with the hypothesis that postganglionic sympathectomy potentiates the susceptibility to ulcer3; lumbodorsal and transthoracic sympathectomy as commonly employed are preganglionic operations. The concept of antagonism between the two components of the autonomic nervous system as proposed by Hess4 and by Cannon5 was originally applied to the motor functions of the gastrointestinal tract. From reports6 of postsympathectomy ulcer complications which the writers suggest were caused by autonomic imbalance, one concludes that this concept is now being applied
HOWE CW, PORELL WJ, WARE PF. EFFECTS OF SYMPATHECTOMY ALONE AND COMBINED WITH GASTRECTOMY ON GASTRIC SECRETORY RESPONSESAn Experimental Study on Esophageal-Fistula Dogs with Normal Stomachs. AMA Arch Surg. 1952;64(2):238-249. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1952.01260010250015