Helicobacter pylori is not the predominant etiology for peptic ulcers requiring operation

Marc S. Zelickson, Cathy M. Bronder, Brent L. Johnson, Joseph A. Camunas, Dane E. Smith, Dustin Rawlinson, Stephen Von, H. Harlan Stone, Spence M. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


As the number of patients requiring operation for peptic ulcer disease (PUD) declines, presumed contemporary ulcer etiology has largely been derived from medically treated patients not subjected to surgery. The purpose of this study was to examine the specific causes of PUD in patients requiring surgery. Our Acute Care Surgical Service registry was reviewed for patients operated on for complications of PUD from 2004 to 2009. Emphasis was placed on individual etiologic factors for PUD. There were 128 patients (52% male, 81% white) who underwent emergency operation including: simple patch closure (n = 61, 48%); gastric resection (n = 22, 17%); gastric resection with vagotomy (n = 21, 16%); vagotomy and pyloroplasty (n = 18, 14%); or other procedures (n = 6, 5%). Complications necessitating operation were perforation (n = 79, 62%); bleeding (n = 29, 23%); obstruction (n = 12, 9%); and intractability (n = 8, 6%). Perioperative mortality was 12.5 per cent. Risk factors for PUD included tobacco use (50%), alcohol abuse (34%), and steroids (21%). Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory use was confirmed in 68 (53%) patients. Of the 128 patients, 82 (64%) were tested for Helicobacter pylori, 33 (40%) of which were positive and 49 (60%) negative. Helicobacter pylori, thus, was the confirmed ulcer etiology in only 26 per cent of cases. Unlike contemporary series of medically treated PUD, Helicobacter pylori may not be the predominant etiologic factor in patients who experience complications requiring surgery. A " traditional" surgical approach with liberal use of vagotomy, not antibiotic triple therapy, may well be the preferred treatment consideration in such cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1054-1060
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


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