Dumping syndrome following gastric surgery

Mala, T.; Hewitt, S.; Høgestøl, I.K.D.; Kjellevold, K.; Kristinsson, J.A.; Risstad, H.

Tidsskrift for den Norske Laegeforening Tidsskrift for Praktisk Medicin Ny Raekke 135(2): 137-141


ISSN/ISBN: 0807-7096
PMID: 25625992
Accession: 068926086

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Dumping syndrome is the term used to describe a common set of symptoms following gastric surgery, and is characterised by postprandial discomfort which can entail nutritional problems. The condition was well known when surgery was the usual treatment for peptic ulcer disease. The increasing number of operations for morbid obesity means that the condition is once again of relevance, and health personnel will encounter these patients in different contexts. This article discusses the prevalence, symptomatology and treatment of dumping syndrome. This review article is based on a selection of articles identified in PubMed and assessed as having particular relevance for elucidating this issue, as well as on the authors' own clinical experience. Early dumping syndrome generally occurs within 15 minutes of ingesting a meal and is attributable to the rapid transit of food into the small intestine. Nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, a sensation of heat, dizziness, reduced blood pressure and palpitations are typical symptoms. Lethargy and sleepiness after meals are common. Late dumping syndrome occurs later and may be attributed to hypoglycaemia with tremors, cold sweats, difficulty in concentrating, and loss of consciousness. Dumping-related symptoms occur in between 20 and 50% of patients following gastric surgery. Early dumping syndrome is more frequent than late dumping syndrome. It is estimated that 10-20% of patients have pronounced symptoms and 1-5% have severe symptoms. The diagnosis is usually made on the basis of typical symptoms. Most patients experience alleviation of the symptoms over time and with changes in diet and eating habits. Further patient evaluation and drug or surgical intervention may be relevant for some individuals. Dumping-related symptoms are common after gastric surgery. The extent of obesity surgery in particular means that health personnel should be familiar with this condition.