Background: The aim was to assess the current opinion of surgeons, by subspecialty, towards vagotomy and the practice of Helicobacter pylori testing, treatment and follow-up, in patients with bleeding or perforated duodenal ulcer.
Methods: A postal questionnaire was sent to 1073 Fellows of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland in 2001.
Results: Some 697 valid questionnaires were analysed (65.0 per cent). Most surgeons did not perform vagotomy for perforated or bleeding duodenal ulcer. There was no statistical difference between the responses of upper gastrointestinal surgeons and those of other specialists for perforated (P = 0.35) and bleeding (P = 0.45) ulcers. Respondents were more likely to perform a vagotomy for bleeding than for a perforated ulcer (P < 0.001). Although more than 80 per cent of surgeons prescribed H. pylori eradication treatment after operation, fewer than 60 per cent routinely tested patients for H. pylori eradication. Upper gastrointestinal surgeons were more likely to prescribe H. pylori treatment and test for eradication than other specialists (P < 0.01).
Conclusion: Most surgeons in the UK no longer perform vagotomy for duodenal ulcer complications.
Copyright 2002 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd