A prospective randomized trial of 40 duodenal ulcer patients is reviewed. The patients had one of four operations (selective vagotomy, proximal gastric vagotomy, selective vagotomy plus pyloroplasty, or proximal gastric vagotomy plus pyloroplasty). The gastric emptying of a hypertonic fluid meal was assessed before and three to four months after operation. Selective vagotomy without a drainage procedure results in gastric retention and should no longer be considered as a method of treatment for duodenal ulcer. Proximal gastric vagotomy without a drainage procedure does not lead to gastric retention. Initial gastric emptying is more rapid after proximal gastric vagotomy but the final emptying time is the same as before operation and this operation alters the pattern of gastric emptying less than the other operations. Pyloroplasty added to either selective or proximal gastric vagotomy results in loss of the normal regulation of gastric emptying, very rapid initial gastric emptying, and a significant increase in the incidence of `dumping'. It appears from these studies that `dumping' is due to rapid gastric emptying and mainly due to the drainage procedure.
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