July 1989

An Analysis of the Reduced Morbidity and Mortality Rates After Pancreaticoduodenectomy

Author Affiliations

From the Surgical Service, Veterans Administration Medical Center, and the Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco.

Arch Surg. 1989;124(7):778-781. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1989.01410070028006

• We examined the course of 51 consecutive patients who underwent pancreaticoduodenectomies between 1979 and 1987. Fifteen patients (30%) had a traditional pancreaticoduodenectomy and 36 (70%) had a pylorus-preserving procedure. Operative blood loss, resumption of oral intake, and time to discharge from the hospital were not different for the two operations. One patient (2%) died of complications of the operation, and 14 patients (27%) had nonlethal intra-abdominal complications. Two patients required reoperation: 1 had a hemoperitoneum and 1 had a breakdown of a choledochoenterostomy. Of the patients undergoing pancreaticoduodenectomy for cancer, 26 (74%) of 35 survived 1 year, 9 (47%) of 19 survived 3 years, and 3 (33%) of 10 patients survived 5 or more years postoperatively. Our data showed that (1) on a service where a large number of these operations is performed, the mortality rate of patients who have undergone a pancreaticoduodenectomy is substantially lower than in the past and that (2) the main reasons for these improved results are greater experience of a few surgeons who perform the procedure regularly and the availability of computed tomographic scans and skilled interventional radiologists, which allows postoperative infection and pancreatic fistulas to be controlled. Although pancreaticoduodenectomy is only palliative in most patients with cancer, it provides the best palliation and the only chance of cure, and the procedure can be recommended when performed in tertiary care centers that possess these elements of success.

(Arch Surg. 1989;124:778-781)