Background: The frequency of surgery for peptic ulcer disease (PUD) has decreased dramatically during the last 3 decades. The purpose of this study was to characterize the Veteran patients undergoing surgery for peptic ulcer disease in a modern series and to examine the effect of H. plylori status on surgical outcome and recurrence of PUD. Methods: An Institutional Review Board-approved retrospective review of all patients undergoing operations for peptic ulcer disease during a 66-month period at a single Veterans Administration medical center was performed. Patient records were examined for demographics, medication use, Helicobacter pylori status, operative details, and surgical outcomes. Results: From January 1999 to July 2004, 43 of 128 upper gastrointestinal operations were performed for PUD. Thirty-five operations (81%) were performed for bleeding or perforated ulcers, and 26 (60%) patients had no history of PUD. The mean age was 60 years, and 66% of patients were American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class 3 or 4; 47% were Helicobacter pylori positive, and 54% used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication. Hospital mortality was 23%. By univariate analysis, emergent surgery, higher ASA status, H. pylori status, and absence of a history of ulcer disease were risk factors for mortality (P <.05). Only 36% underwent definitive ulcer surgery. With a median follow-up of 18 months, there has been only 1 single recurrence (3%). Conclusions: PUD still accounts for 33% of all gastroduodenal surgery performed in a Veterans Administration medical center. The majority of these operations are emergent operations in high-risk patients. In this era of effective acid suppression and H. pylori treatment, definitive ulcer surgery in the emergent setting may not be necessary.
- Helicobacter pylori
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Peptic ulcer disease