There is ongoing debate about the management of severe duodenal injuries (SDIs), and earlier studies have recommended pyloric exclusion. The objective of this study was to compare primary repair with pyloric exclusion to examine if primary repair can be safely used in SDIs.
The medical records of 193 consecutive patients who were admitted between August 1992 and January 2004 with duodenal injuries were reviewed. After excluding early deaths (n = 50), low-grade duodenal injuries (n = 81), and pancreatoduodenectomies for catastrophic trauma (n = 12), a total of 50 patients with SDIs (grade III, IV, or V) were analyzed. Primary repair (PR--simple duodenorrhaphy or resection and primary anastomosis) was performed in 34 (68%) and pyloric exclusion (PE) in 16 (32%). Characteristics and outcomes of these two groups were compared.
PE and PR patients were similar for age, injury severity score, abdominal abbreviated injury score, physiologic status on admission, time to operation, and most abdominal organs injured. PE patients had more pancreatic injuries (63% vs. 24%, p < 0.01), a higher frequency of injuries to the first and second part of the duodenum (79% vs. 42%, p = 0.02), and a nonsignificant trend toward more grade IV and V injuries (37% vs. 18%, p = 0.11). There was no difference in morbidity (including complications specific to the duodenal repair), mortality, and intensive care unit and hospital length of stay between the two groups.
Pyloric exclusion is not necessary for all patients with SDIs, as previously suggested. Selected SDI patients can be safely managed by simple primary repair.