From 1979 through 1984, truncal vagotomy and drainage were performed in 71 patients with symptomatic obstructing peptic ulcers, whereas proximal gastric vagotomy with or without drainage was performed in 30 patients. Seven patients (7 percent) developed prolonged early postoperative gastric atony. Six of the 71 patients (8 percent) who had truncal vagotomy had atony, whereas only 1 of the 30 patients (3 percent) with proximal gastric vagotomy had atony (p = 0.08). The atony resolved with medical management in all patients after a median of 23 days. At follow-up (median 3 years), 74 percent of patients with truncal vagotomy had an excellent or good result compared with 86 percent of those with proximal gastric vagotomy (p > 0.1). The conclusion was that prolonged early postoperative gastric atony occurs uncommonly after vagotomy for obstructing peptic ulcer. Preservation of antropyloric innervation by using proximal gastric vagotomy instead of truncal vagotomy may be helpful, but does not completely prevent the atony.
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