Quality of life, nutritional status, and gastrointestinal hormone profile following the Whipple procedure

Am J Surg. 1995 Jan;169(1):179-85. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9610(99)80129-9.


Background: To compare the quality of life, nutritional status, and gastrointestinal profiles of post-Whipple patients and postcholecystectomy patients.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey of post-Whipple procedure patients and age- and sex-matched postcholecystectomy patients was performed. Quality of life was assessed using six instruments: Time Trade-off Technique, Direct Questioning of Objectives, Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index, Sickness Impact Profile, Physician Global Assessment, and Visick Scale. A gastrointestinal symptomatology questionnaire was completed. Nutritional status was assessed by weight, the Subjective Global Assessment instrument, and skin anthropometry. Fasting and postprandial serum gastrin, somatostatin, insulin, pancreatic glucagon, enteroglucagon, and pancreatic polypeptide were measured.

Results: The quality of life and gastrointestinal function of the Whipple patients was excellent and was not significantly different from that of the control subjects. There were no significant differences in gastrointestinal symptomatology although 5 Whipple patients complained of greasy bowel movements, and 1 patient reported difficulty maintaining weight. Despite this, nutritional status was within normal limits in all subjects. Six patients in the Whipple group followed a diabetic diet, 1 required insulin, and 3 required an oral hypoglycemic agent, whereas none of the control subjects were diabetic. There were no significant differences in the mean basal, peak, or integrated postprandial responses of the gut hormones with the exception of pancreatic polypeptide and gastrin (in patients having a standard Whipple procedure only).

Conclusion: Quality of life and nutritional status are excellent in patients following a Whipple procedure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Duodenal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hormones / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy*
  • Postoperative Period
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sex Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Gastrointestinal Hormones