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Low-dose erythromycin reduces delayed gastric emptying and improves gastric motility after Billroth I pylorus-preserving pancreaticoduodenectomy.

Author(s): Ohwada S, Satoh Y, Kawate S, Yamada T, Kawamura O, Koyama T, Yoshimura S, Tomizawa N, Ogawa T, Morishita Y

Affiliation(s): Second Department of Surgery, Gunma University Faculty of Medicine, Maebashi, Japan. sohwada@med.gunma-u.ac.jp

Publication date & source: 2001-11, Ann Surg., 234(5):668-74.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that early and low doses of erythromycin reduce the incidence of early delayed gastric emptying (DGE) and induce phase 3 of the migratory motor complex in the stomach after Billroth I pylorus-preserving pancreaticoduodenectomy (PPPD). SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Delayed gastric emptying is a leading cause of complications after PPPD, occurring in up to 50% of patients. High doses of erythromycin (200 mg) accelerate gastric emptying after pancreaticoduodenectomy and reduce the incidence of DGE, although they induce strong contractions that do not migrate to the duodenum. METHODS: Thirty-one patients were randomly assigned to either the erythromycin or control groups. The patients received erythromycin lactobionate (1 mg/kg) every 8 hours, or H2-receptor antagonists and gastrokinetic drugs from days 1 to 14 after surgery. On postoperative day 30, gastroduodenal motility was recorded in 14 patients. RESULTS: Preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative factors were comparable in the erythromycin and control groups. The erythromycin group had a shorter duration of nasogastric drainage, earlier resumption of eating, and a 75% reduction in the incidence of DGE. Erythromycin was an independent influence on nasogastric tube removal, and preservation of the right gastric vessels was a significant covariate. Low doses of erythromycin induced phase 3 of the migratory motor complex and phase 3-like activity, with the same characteristics as spontaneous phase 3, in 86% of patients: two had quiescent stomachs and the others had spontaneous phase 3 or phase 3-like activity. CONCLUSIONS: Low doses of erythromycin reduced the incidence of DGE by 75% and induced phase 3 of the migratory motor complex after Billroth I PPPD. Low doses of erythromycin are preferable to high doses in the unfed period after PPPD.

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