Objective: The authors hypothesized that pancreaticogastrostomy is safer than pancreaticojejunostomy after pancreaticoduodenectomy and less likely to be associated with a postoperative pancreatic fistula.
Summary background data: Pancreatic fistula is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality after pancreaticoduodenectomy, occurring in 10% to 20% of patients. Nonrandomized reports have suggested that pancreaticogastrostomy is less likely than pancreaticojejunostomy to be associated with postoperative complications.
Methods: Between May 1993 and January 1995, the findings for 145 patients were analyzed in this prospective trial at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. After giving their appropriate preoperative informed consent, patients were randomly assigned to pancreaticogastrostomy or pancreaticojejunostomy after completion of the pancreaticoduodenal resection. All pancreatic anastomoses were performed in two layers without pancreatic duct stents and with closed suction drainage. Pancreatic fistula was defined as drainage of greater than 50 mL of amylase-rich fluid on or after postoperative day 10.
Results: The pancreaticogastrostomy (n = 73) and pancreaticojejunostomy (n = 72) groups were comparable with regard to multiple parameters, including demographics, medical history, preoperative laboratory values, and intraoperative factors, such as operative time, blood transfusions, pancreatic texture, length of pancreatic remnant mobilized, and pancreatic duct diameter. The overall incidence of pancreatic fistula after pancreaticoduodenectomy was 11.7% (17/145). The incidence of pancreatic fistula was similar for the pancreaticogastrostomy (12.3%) and pancreaticojejunostomy (11.1%) groups. Pancreatic fistula was associated with a significant prolongation of postoperative hospital stay (36 +/- 5 vs. 15 +/- 1 days) (p < 0.001). Factors significantly increasing the risk of pancreatic fistula by univariate logistic regression analysis included ampullary or duodenal disease, soft pancreatic texture, longer operative time, greater intraoperative red blood cell transfusions, and lower surgical volume (p < 0.05). A multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed the factors most highly associated with pancreatic fistula to be lower surgical volume and ampullary or duodenal disease in the resected specimen.
Conclusions: Pancreatic fistula is a common complication after pancreaticoduodenectomy, with an incidence most strongly associated with surgical volume and underlying disease. These data do not support the hypothesis that pancreaticogastrostomy is safer than pancreaticojejunostomy or is associated with a lower incidence of pancreatic fistula.