Perforated ulcer of the stomach - causes, symptoms and treatment

The perforated ulcer of the stomach and duodenum is one of the hardest diseases of the abdominal cavity. Perforation is a serious complication of gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer occurs frequently, taking second place after acute appendicitis.

As with other acute diseases of the abdominal cavity, with a perforated ulcer, early treatment, timely diagnosis and surgery are prerequisites for a favorable outcome.

Despite all the achievements of the last decades in the treatment of peptic ulcer, the frequency of perforated ulcers reaches 10%.They account for up to a quarter of all complications of peptic ulcer and symptomatic ulcers. More often it is observed in men. And the terrible condition can end not only with the operation, but also with a fatal outcome.

Causes of

Why does a perforated stomach ulcer develop, and what is it? A perforated ulcer is not an independent disease, but a complication of a stomach ulcer. Perforation is essentially the appearance of a through hole in the wall of the stomach and the flow of the contents of the stomach into the abdominal cavity of the patient and its part.

This phenomenon is very dangerous in itself, there are quite a lot of deaths in those cases when the diagnosis of the disease was carried out too late, or in the case when the patient ignored the simple rules of treatment and recovery after surgery.

contributes to the perforation of the organ wall:

  • no treatment for ulcer exacerbation;
  • gross diet disorders;
  • severe overeating;
  • frequent stressful situations, constant mental and mental stress;
  • severe physical exertion and increased pressure inside the abdominal cavity;
  • long-term use of glucocorticosteroids and preparations of salicylic acid.

As you can see, the causes of the development of this disease can be easily prevented if you take good care of your health.

Symptoms of perforated stomach ulcer

In the case of a perforated ulcer, the severity of the symptoms directly depends on the clinical shape of the perforation. It can be:

  • typical, when the contents of the stomach immediately flow into the abdominal cavity( up to 80 - 95%);
  • atypical( covered perforation), if the resulting hole is covered by an omentum or other nearby organ( of the order of 5 - 9%).

The classic picture of the signs of a perforated ulcer is observed during perforation in the free abdominal cavity, occurring in 90% of cases. It distinguishes 3 periods:

  • primary "abdominal shock"( chemical inflammation);
  • latent period( bacterial);
  • diffuse purulent peritonitis.

The precursors of perforation can be:

  • strengthening of patient's existing pain;
  • chills;
  • nausea;
  • "causeless" vomiting;
  • dry mouth.

Then there is a sudden change in the picture of the disease. The patient appears:

  • intense burning pain, which is usually compared with a dagger blow;
  • weakness;
  • increased, then decreased heart rate;
  • drop in blood pressure with loss of consciousness and sometimes even with the development of a shock state.

Stage of pain shock

During this period the patient feels a sharp pain in the abdominal region. Patients compare it to a dagger blow: it is a sharp, severe and sharp pain. At this time, vomiting may occur, the patient is difficult to get up, his skin is pale and cold sweat may appear.

Breathing is rapid and superficial, with a deep inspiration there is pain, blood pressure is lowered, but the pulse remains within the limits of the norm: 73-80 beats per minute. With the perforated ulcer of the duodenum, the abdominal muscles are strained, so the feeling is difficult.

The latent period

The duration of the second period, as a rule, is 6-12 hours. Among the symptoms are the following:

  • face acquires a normal color;
  • pulse, pressure and temperature return to normal;
  • superficial breathing, dryness and lagging of the tongue are absent;
  • pain subsides( when the contents of the stomach flow along the right lateral canal, the pain remains, but becomes less intense and takes on a localized character).

As a rule, it is during this period that patients are sure that the disease has receded, and they are reluctant to allow themselves to be examined, delayed before agreeing to surgery.


The transition of the disease to the stage of diffuse peritonitis occurs by the end of the first day. Painful sensations return in an even more pronounced form, become intolerable. The patient is tormented by nausea, vomiting. Sometimes hiccups join. The body temperature increases to 38 degrees C.

The abdomen becomes swollen, when listening to intestinal noises the stethoscope shows very weak noises, but sometimes one can hear only silence.


Diagnosis of perforated gastric ulcer is based on detailed patient inquiry and examination. Since in some cases the patient gets to the doctor in the second period of the disease, when the symptoms are not expressed, an error may be committed.

Therefore, for any suspected perforation, a comprehensive examination is necessary: ​​

  1. X-ray diagnosis .With its help, you can determine air in the abdominal cavity( in 80% of cases).It is necessary at the same time, according to the characteristic features( "sub-diaphragmatic semilunity"), differentiate from the signs of the intruded intestine.
  2. Endoscopy .It is used for negative results of X-ray studies, but if suspected of perforation. It allows to determine the presence of peptic ulcer, localization of the focus. The study is conducted with the help of air pumping, which helps to determine the true clinical picture.
  3. Diagnostic laparoscopy is the most sensitive method of detecting perforated gastric ulcers, gas and effusions in the free abdominal cavity.

In clinical blood analysis there will be all signs of inflammation( increased ESR, level of stab wedges), and bleeding will lower the level of hemoglobin.

Perforated gastric ulcer: operation

Treatment of perforated gastric ulcer is only surgical, and the operation should be performed as soon as possible, because in the third period of the disease it may already be meaningless.

The overall choice of operating benefit depends on:

  1. The time elapsed since the onset of the disease.
  2. Properties of the ulcer( origin, localization).
  3. The severity of the phenomena of peritonitis and its prevalence.
  4. The age of the patient and the presence of severe concomitant pathology.
  5. Technical capabilities of the hospital and the skills of the medical team.

The operation with the perforated ulcer of the stomach is in most cases carried out by means of classical laparotomy( dissection of the anterior abdominal wall).This is determined by the need for a thorough audit of the abdominal cavity. Sometimes it is possible to sew small perforations by applying laparoscopy( through a puncture of the abdominal wall).


After the operation with a perforated ulcer, the diet is based on a limited consumption of salt, liquid and simple carbohydrates( sugar, chocolate, baked goods, etc.).On the second day after surgery, they give mineral water, soft tea and fruit jelly with a small amount of sugar.

10 days after the operation, the patient is given a mashed potato, as well as a boiled pumpkin and carrots. All food should be soft, not spicy, not salty, not greasy. Bread is allowed to be added to the menu only after a month.

Basic principles of diet:

  1. Daily amount of food intake up to 6 times, in small portions.
  2. All products should be pure, semi-liquid.
  3. Cooking should be steamed or boiled
  4. Salt should be taken in a limited amount.
  5. . Also, you should limit the intake of simple carbohydrates( sugar, chocolate, pastries) and liquids.

In general, after the operation with a perforated ulcer it is necessary to observe a special diet for 3-6 months.


The absence of surgical treatment leads to death within the next week after perforation, almost in all cases. In surgical treatment, the average postoperative lethality is 5-8% of various complications associated with the total severity of the condition, age and concomitant pathology of the patient.

According to statistics, the earlier the operation was performed, the lower the risk of death. For example, during an operation in the first 6 hours the risk is up to 4%, after 12 hours - 20%, after 24 hours - 40% and higher.

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