To determine whether choledochoduodenostomy provides adequate long-term palliation of obstructive jaundice in unresectable pancreatic cancer.
Consecutive case series.
Tertiary referral center.
From 1980 to 1997, 79 consecutive patients (45 men, 34 women; mean age, 67.8 years) with biopsy-proved pancreatic cancer found to be unresectable at operation.
All patients had resectable disease by preoperative criteria. At exploratory laparotomy, unresectability was determined by the presence of liver or peritoneal metastases, encasement of major vascular structures by tumor, and/or celiac lymph node involvement. Choledochoduodenostomy for biliary bypass was performed in 71 (90%) of 79 patients; Roux-en-Y choledochojejunostomy was performed in the remaining 8 patients.
Main Outcome Measures
Resolution of jaundice, duration of hospital stay, mean survival, postoperative complications, and evidence of recurrent biliary obstruction.
All patients experienced rapid resolution of jaundice. Average hospital stay was 8.3 days. Mean survival after operation was 13.1 months (range, 2 weeks to 62 months). Postoperative mortality was 3%. There were no biliary or duodenal leaks. Four patients (6%) required hospitalization for gastrointestinal hemorrhage; however, only 1 (1%) was from peptic ulceration. No patient developed recurrent biliary obstruction.
Choledochoduodenostomy provides rapid, long-lasting relief of jaundice, with little morbidity and a low rate of duodenal ulceration, and is the palliative operation of choice when patients are found to have unresectable disease at operation or when stenting procedures fail.