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Annals of Surgery: October 1976
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Four hundred twenty-two patients with gastric ulcer treated during 1950–1960 were followed up to 25 years with a mean followup of 9 years. Nonoperative treatment was used in 59% with a hospital mortality of 35%, one-third of these deaths being directly due to gastric ulcer perforation or hemorrhage. Operative treatment was used in 41% of patients. The most common operation (86%) was gastric resection without vagotomy. Overall operative mortality was 16%; 34% for emergency procedures and 6% for elective procedures. Cachexia seemed to be the most important factor related to operative mortality. Nonoperative treatment resulted in more than twice the hospital mortality compared to operative treatment. Approximately one-half of all patients treated non-operatively had a recurrent gastric ulcer at some time during this this study. The recurrence rate following definitive gastric resection was 1.3% compared with 16% during nonoperative therapy. Three-fourths of recurrences occurred later than two years and nearly half of recurrences after more than 5 years of followup. Patients with a prior history of overt bleeding from gastric ulcer disease particularly were at risk for further bleeding. There were coincidental duodenal ulcers in 10% of our patients and a 0.8% incidence of gastric cancer during followup. Long term followup demonstrates the superiority of operative treatment of gastric ulcer and also reveals the continuous propensity of such ulcers to recurrence following nonoperative treatment. Earlier elective operation in patients with overt bleeding, recurrence or persisting symptoms should decrease overall mortality and result in a lower overall long-term risk of ulcer complications.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.