Background/purpose: The aim of this study was to determine the presentation, treatment, and outcome of children requiring surgery for peptic ulcer disease (PUD) in the post-histamine 2 -blocker era.
Methods: The charts of all children undergoing surgery for PUD in our institution since 1980 were retrospectively reviewed. Data were collected regarding clinical presentation, operative details, postoperative course, and outcome.
Results: Twenty-nine children (7.2 +/- 7.5 years) required surgery for complications of PUD. Indications for operation were bleeding (n = 11), pneumoperitoneum (n = 13), peritonitis (n = 3), and gastric outlet obstruction refractory to medical therapy (n = 2). For those children with bleeding, 8 had simple oversew of the bleeding ulcer(s), 2 had oversew with vagotomy and pyloroplasty, and 1 required vagotomy and antrectomy. All patients with perforation (n = 16) were treated with simple closure with or without omental patch. One child with gastric outlet obstruction underwent vagotomy and antrectomy and 1 had vagotomy and pyloroplasty. Preoperative risk factors or comorbidities were present in 27 of 29 patients and included steroid or nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug medications in 13 children (only 3 of whom were receiving antiulcer prophylaxis). Postoperative complications occurred in 11 of 29 patients. Three (10%) children required reoperation for persistent or recurrent ulcer disease and 4 children died.
Conclusions: PUD remains a highly morbid and mortal condition in children despite the availability of effective acid-reducing medications. Effective prophylaxis of children receiving steroids and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs may play a role in decreasing the risk of PUD.