Background: Malignant gastric outlet obstruction represents a terminal stage in pancreatic cancer. Between 5% and 25% of patients with pancreatic cancer ultimately experience malignant gastric outlet obstruction. The aim in palliating patients with malignant gastric outlet obstruction is to reestablish an oral intake by restoring gastrointestinal continuity. This ultimately improves their quality of life in the advanced stages of cancer. The main drawback to operative bypass is the high incidence of delayed gastric emptying, particularly in this group of patients with symptomatic obstruction. This study aimed to compare surgical gastrojejunostomy and endoscopic stenting in palliation of malignant gastric outlet obstruction, acknowledging the diversity and heterogeneity of patients with this presentation.
Methods: This retrospective study investigated patients treated for malignant gastric outlet obstruction from December 1998 to November 2008 at Nepean Hospital, Sydney, Australia. Endoscopic duodenal stenting was performed under fluoroscopic guidance for placement of the stent. The operative patients underwent open surgical gastrojejunostomy. The outcomes assessed included time to diet, hospital length of stay (LOS), biliary drainage procedures, morbidity, and mortality.
Results: Of the 45 participants in this study, 26 underwent duodenal stenting and 19 had operative bypass. Comparing the stenting and operative patients, the median time to fluid intake was respectively 0 vs. 7 days (P < 0.001), and the time to intake of solids was 2 vs. 9 days (P = 0.004). The median total LOS was shorter in the stenting group (11 vs. 25 days; P < 0.001), as was the median postprocedure LOS (5 vs. 10 days; P = 0.07).
Conclusions: Endoscopic stenting is preferable to operative gastrojejunostomy in terms of shorter LOS, faster return to fluids and solids, and reduced morbidity and in-hospital mortality for patients with a limited life span.