Trends in Indications and Outcomes in the Whipple Procedure over a 40-Year Period

Rios, Gloria; Conrad, Andrew
September 1999
American Surgeon;Sep1999, Vol. 65 Issue 9, p889
Academic Journal
There have been increasing changes in the role of pancreatoduodenectomy (PD) in the management of benign and malignant pancreatic disease. The aim of this paper was to compare the current role of PD with that of our earlier experience. The records of patients undergoing PD at our institution between 1983 and 1996 (Group A) were reviewed and compared with cases between 1956 and 1982 (Group B). Student's t test was used to analyze differences between groups. A total of 153 PDs were performed with 98 (64%) in Group A (88% of these in the last 6 years) and 55 (36%) in Group B. Carcinoma of the head of the pancreas was the most common indication for surgery in both periods (43% and 47% for Groups A and B, respectively). In Group A, the next most common indication was chronic pancreatitis, accounting for 28 per cent versus 13 per cent in Group B. Carcinoma of ampulla of Vater was also a common indication, making up 21 per cent of the cases in Group A and 20 per cent in Group B. Preoperative biliary drainage was performed in 62 per cent of Group A and 3 per cent of Group B patients (P < 0.001). Postoperative complications were comparable in both groups: delayed gastric emptying (22%), wound infection (17%), pancreatic fistula (13%), gastrointestinal bleeding (8%), and intestinal obstruction (3%). The perioperative mortality rate was significantly different between the two groups: 1 per cent in Group A versus 16 per cent in Group B (P < 0.001). Mean postoperative length of stay was 17 days in Group A (22 days for benign disease) and 25 days for Group B (P < 0.01). In the last 40 years, there has been a rise in the use of PD for chronic pancreatitis and a significant decrease in postoperative mortality and hospital length of stay. These data support the safety of PD in the management of patients with both benign and malignant periampullary disease.


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