Evaluation and management of patients with recurrent peptic ulcer disease after acid-reducing operations: A systematic review

Richard H. Turnage, George Sarosi, Byron Cryer, Stuart Spechler, Walter Peterson, Mark Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This systematic review examines the evidence for commonly employed strategies of managing patients with recurrent ulcer disease after acid-reducing operations. Particular attention is given to recent evidence relating Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori ) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to ulcer recurrence after operative therapy. MEDLINE word searches of the literature from 1966 to 2001 identified 895 articles that cross-reference the terms "peptic ulcer disease (PUD)," "surgery," and "recurrence." Articles were selected for systematic review of evidence relating incomplete vagotomy, NSAIDs, and H. pylori to postoperative ulcer recurrence and evidence supporting common medical and surgical strategies. The relationship between incomplete vagotomy and recurrent ulcer disease is suggested by randomized controlled trials and well-designed prospective case series. The evidence that NSAID use is an important pathogenic factor in recurrent ulcer disease includes the relationship between NSAIDs and primary PUD, the occurrence of NSAID-induced ulcers in patients taking proton pump inhibitors, and case series demonstrating virulent ulcer disease in patients taking aspirin despite prior acid-reducing operations. The relationship between H. pylori infection and postoperative ulcer recurrence remains uncertain despite multiple controlled trials and well-designed case series that have documented high rates of H. pylori infection in postoperative patients. The initial management of patients with recurrent ulcer disease after acid-reducing operations consists of a protein pump inhibitor or a histamine-2 receptor antagonist and antibiotics directed at H. pylori, if present. Evidence for this regimen includes prospective randomized trials demonstrating the efficacy of cimetidine in healing ulcers after acid-reducing operations and prospective, randomized studies documenting the efficacy of histamine-2 receptor antagonists and protein pump inhibitors in the management of patients with primary PUD. The critical role that H. pylori infection plays in primary PUD and the minimal risks associated with H. pylori eradication strongly support the initiation of antibiotic therapy when H. pylori is present. The principal indication for operative management of recurrent PUD is the occurrence of ulcer complications that cannot be managed by medical or endoscopic means. The operative management of patients with failed acid-reducing operations is based on ulcer recurrence rates and morbidity and mortality rates in randomized and nonrandomized prospective trials of patients with primary PUD and retrospective case series of patients undergoing remedial operative procedures after various failed acid-reducing operations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)606-626
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2003


  • Antrectomy
  • Parietal cell vagotomy
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Recurrent peptic ulcer disease
  • Vagotomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology


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