Current practice of emergency vagotomy and Helicobacter pylori eradication for complicated peptic ulcer in the United Kingdom

Br J Surg. 2003 Jan;90(1):88-90. doi: 10.1002/bjs.4003.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Ulcer Agents / therapeutic use
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Duodenal Ulcer / microbiology
  • Duodenal Ulcer / surgery*
  • Emergencies
  • Helicobacter Infections / diagnosis*
  • Helicobacter Infections / drug therapy
  • Helicobacter pylori*
  • Humans
  • Peptic Ulcer Hemorrhage / microbiology
  • Peptic Ulcer Hemorrhage / surgery*
  • Peptic Ulcer Perforation / microbiology
  • Peptic Ulcer Perforation / surgery*
  • Professional Practice
  • Specialization
  • Vagotomy / methods*


  • Anti-Ulcer Agents