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Abdominal Surgery Without Gastrointestinal Suction

Arch Surg. 1966;92(1):35-38. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1966.01320190037008.
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THE ROUTINE use of gastric decompression by means of nasogastric suction-drainage has been practiced by most surgeons since its introduction by Ward1 and Wangensteen2 in 1925. Due to the frequency of complications3,4 with nasogastric suction, Gilchrist5 and Farris and Smith6 suggested, as a substitute, temporary gastrostomy as a means of gastric decompression. However, complications have also been reported with gastrostomy.7,8 The elimination of nasogastric suction and gastrostomy has been discussed in several recent reports. Gerber reported, in 1958,9 the successful treatment of 1,000 patients with paralytic ileus without nasogastric suction. In this series, 300 consecutive cases of paralytic ileus in which suction drainage of the stomach was used were compared with another 300 cases in which suction was not used. Patients without suction had less morbidity and mortality. Patients in whom gastric suction was used had a higher incidence of respiratory tract complications.


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