• Although peptic ulcer disease was known to the ancients, the process by which the disease was produced remained a mystery. As advances were made in medicine and science, so too were advances made in the understanding of digestion and gastrointestinal disease. The treatment of peptic ulcer disease improved as our understanding of the digestive process grew. The current surgical treatment for peptic ulcer disease follows the principals articulated by Lester R. Dragstedt, MD, PhD, which he based on his observations in the research laboratory. We present a historical perspective of the role of the vagus nerve in the control of gastric secretions and its relationship to peptic ulcer disease, placing particular emphasis on Dragstedt's contributions.
(Arch Surg. 1991;126:259-264)