Papers And Originals

Vagotomy without Diarrhoea

Br Med J 1972; 3 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.3.5830.788 (Published 30 September 1972) Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;3:788
  1. D. Johnston,
  2. C. S. Humphrey,
  3. B. E. Walker,
  4. C. N. Pulvertaft,
  5. J. C. Goligher

    Abstract

    The incidence of diarrhoea after three types of vagotomy was assessed “blind” at a gastric follow-up clinic one year after operation. Diarrhoea was recorded in 24% of patients after truncal vagotomy and pyloroplasty, in 18% after selective vagotomy and pyloroplasty, but in only 2% of patients after highly selective vagotomy without a drainage procedure. The incidence of diarrhoea was significantly less (P < 0·01) after highly selective vagotomy than after either of the other procedures.

    Hypertonic glucose solution given by mouth to 15 representative patients from each group and to 15 patients before operation provoked the onset of diarrhoea in 67% of the patients who had undergone truncal vagotomy and pyloroplasty, in 60% of those who had undergone selective vagotomy and pyloroplasty, in 13% of those who had undergone highly selective vagotomy without a drainage procedure, and in none of the preoperative patients. Again the difference between the “highly selective” group and the other two groups of vagotomized patients was statistically significant.

    It is suggested that postvagotomy diarrhoea is attributable both to unregulated gastric emptying after truncal or selective vagotomy with a drainage procedure and to the extragastric denervation produced by truncal vagotomy. “Postvagotomy” diarrhoea can be virtually eliminated by using highly selective vagotomy without a drainage procedure.