Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery

, Volume 403, Issue 5, pp 573–580 | Cite as

Is systematic nasogastric decompression after pancreaticoduodenectomy really necessary?

  • Elodie Gaignard
  • Damien Bergeat
  • Laetitia Courtin-Tanguy
  • Michel Rayar
  • Aude Merdrignac
  • Fabien Robin
  • Karim Boudjema
  • Helene Beloeil
  • Bernard Meunier
  • Laurent SulpiceEmail author



Since the spread of enhanced recovery programs, early withdrawal of the nasogastric tube (NGT) is recommended after pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD), although few data on the safety of this practice are available. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the absence of nasogastric decompression after PD on postoperative outcome.

Study design

All consecutive patients undergoing PD between January 2014 and December 2015 at a single center were retrospectively analyzed. Since May 2015, all operated patients had the NGT removed immediately after the procedure (NGT− group) and were compared to patients operated before this practice (NGT+ group), who had the NGT maintained until at least postoperative day 3.


During the study period, 139 patients underwent PD, of whom 40 (29%) were in the NGT− group and 99 (71%) were in the NGT+ group. The length of hospital stay (LOS) and rate of postoperative complications of grade 2 or higher according to the Clavien-Dindo grading system were significantly higher in the NGT+ group [14 (11–25) vs. 10 (8–14.2), P = 0.005 and 82.8 vs. 40%, P < 0.001, respectively]. Incidence and severity of delayed gastric emptying (DGE) grade B–C were also higher in the NGT+ group (45.5 vs. 7.5%, P < 0.001). There was no difference between the two groups concerning the 90-day postoperative mortality (P = 0.18).


The absence of systematic nasogastric decompression after PD might reduce postoperative complications, DGE, and LOS. These encouraging results deserve to be confirmed by a prospective randomized study (NCT: 02594956).


Pancreaticoduodenectomy Nasogastric tube Enhanced recovery Delayed gastric emptying 



Nasogastric tube




Length of hospital stay


Delayed gastric emptying


Enhanced recovery after surgery


Fast track


Postoperative day


Nasojejunal early enteral nutrition


Postoperative pancreatic fistula


Opioid-free anesthesia


Author’s contributions

Study concept and design: EG and LS; acquisition of data: EG; analysis and interpretation of data: EG, DB, and LS; drafting of the manuscript: EG, FR, DB, and LS; critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: LT, AM, HB, BM, KB, LS, and MR; statistical analysis: DB; final revision and final approval for publication: LS

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study, formal consent is not required.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elodie Gaignard
    • 1
    • 2
  • Damien Bergeat
    • 1
    • 2
  • Laetitia Courtin-Tanguy
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michel Rayar
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Aude Merdrignac
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fabien Robin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Karim Boudjema
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Helene Beloeil
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Bernard Meunier
    • 1
    • 2
  • Laurent Sulpice
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Université de Rennes 1RennesFrance
  2. 2.Service de Chirurgie Hépatobiliaire et DigestiveCHU RennesRennesFrance
  3. 3.CIC INSERM 1414RennesFrance
  4. 4.INSERM 1241, NUMECAN (Nutrition Metabolism and Cancer)RennesFrance

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