Gastric outlet obstruction secondary to pancreatic cancer: surgical vs endoscopic palliation

Y T Wong, D M Brams, L Munson, L Sanders, F Heiss, M Chase, D H Birkett
Surgical Endoscopy 2002, 16 (2): 310-2

BACKGROUND: Gastric outlet obstruction in patients with pancreatic cancer has a grim prognosis. Open surgical bypass is associated with high morbidity, whereas endoscopic duodenal stenting appears to provide better palliation.

METHODS: We reviewed the medical records of patients with gastric outlet obstruction secondary to pancreatic carcinoma who were admitted to our clinic between 1 October 1988, and 30 September 1998. The data included stage of disease, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class, surgical interventions, complications, and survival.

RESULTS: A total of 250 patients with pancreatic cancer were identified. Twenty-five of them (10%) had gastric outlet obstruction. Of these 25, 17 were treated with gastrojejunostomy, six had duodenal stenting (Wallstent), and two were resectable. There was no significant difference between the gastrojejunostomy group and the duodenal stenting group in ASA class or stage of disease. For the gastrojejunostomy group, median survival was 64 days (range, 15-167) and postoperative stay in hospital was 15 days (range, 8-39). For the duodenal stenting group, median survival was 110.5 days (range, 42-212) and postoperative stay was 4 days (range, 2-6). Ten patients (58.8%) in the gastrojejunostomy group had delayed gastric emptying. All of the patients in the duodenal stenting group were able to tolerate a soft diet the day after stent placement. Thirty-day mortality in the gastrojejunostomy group was 17.64%; in the duodenal stenting group, it was 0.

CONCLUSION: In pancreatic carcinoma patients with gastric outlet obstruction, duodenal stenting results in an earlier discharge from hospital and possibly improved survival.

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