JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Nonoperative treatment of perforated duodenal ulcer.

This report concerns 35 adult patients in whom perforation of a duodenal or prepyloric ulcer was treated nonoperatively between July 1979 and April 1988 at the Los Angeles County--University of Southern California Medical Center, Los Angeles. Each patient had pneumoperitoneum with clinical evidence of peritonitis, and a gastroduodenogram documented a sealed perforation. The ulcer was believed to be acute in 27 patients and chronic in 8. These 35 cases represent 12% of 294 cases of duodenal and prepyloric peptic ulcers with perforation treated during the same period. An intra-abdominal abscess developed in 1 of the 35 patients. Reperforation did not occur. The mortality rate for the 259 cases treated operatively during this period was 6.2%; the mortality rate of the 35 cases treated nonoperatively was 3%. Duodenal ulcer can be safely treated nonoperatively when a gastroduodenogram documents self-sealing.

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