Henry Ford Hospital Medical Journal


Over a one-year period beginning in April, 1946, nine transthoracic vagotomies were done at the Henry Ford Hospital. Three of the patients had had a partial gastrectomy previously and the operation was done for recurrent bleeding from marginal ulcers. Thirty years later, an attempt was made to ascertain the present condition of these patients. Long term follow-ups were possible on six patients and follow-ups of one, six and 14 years on the others. All nine patients had immediate relief of ulcer pain and cessation of bleeding if present. No subsequent drainage operation was required for the six patients with primary vagotomy and no additional operations were done on the three patients with previous surgical procedures. Late recurrent bleeding was noted in only one patient (who had had two previous gastric operations), and recurrence of ulcer symptoms in the others was rare and of mild degree. In an attempt to explain why "pure" vagotomy did not continue to be recommended for the surgical treatment of peptic ulcer, a review is presented of significant reports from important surgical centers during the ten years which followed.