Management and spectrum of complications in patients undergoing surgical debridement for pancreatic necrosis

T. Peter Kingham, Peter Shamamian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Patients who undergo pancreatic necrosectomy frequently develop complications and often have high mortality rates. These patients are best cared for at specialized centers to minimize morbidity, manage complex complications, and reduce mortality. We present a review of our experience and describe the spectrum of complications encountered in managing of these difficult patients. A registry of patients undergoing pancreatic necrosectomy during a 7-year period was analyzed for preoperative clinical scoring systems (Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation [APACHE] II and APACHE III scores), patient characteristics related to necrosectomy, and morbidity and mortality. Twenty-nine patients underwent necrosectomy. Indications for surgery were consistent with those previously described. There were 27 complications in 22 patients. Sixteen complications were early (less than 3 weeks after surgery) and 14 were late. The mortality rate was 14 per cent. All deaths were in patients transferred from outside institutions, some after extended time periods. Temporary percutaneous catheter drainage of abscesses before transfer and definitive surgery appeared to reduce mortality in transferred patients. There was a statistically significant correlation between mean maximal preoperative APACHE III score, but not APACHE II score, and the number of postoperative intensive care unit days (rho = 0.52, P = 0.004). We describe our experience managing patients with infected pancreatic necrosis that required operative necrosectomy. We found that more severely ill patients (higher APACHE III scores) had longer intensive care unit stays, but the initial severity of their illness did not increase mortality. If patients with infected pancreatic necrosis are referred to specialized centers, preoperative pretransfer percutaneous drainage may serve to temporarily control sepsis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1050-1056
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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