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Ann Surg. May 1993; 217(5): 458–468.
PMCID: PMC1242821

Progressive loss of pancreatic function in chronic pancreatitis is delayed by main pancreatic duct decompression. A longitudinal prospective analysis of the modified puestow procedure.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: This study evaluated the effect of operative drainage of the main pancreatic duct (MPD) on functional derangements associated with chronic pancreatitis (CP). SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: The author previously reported delayed functional impairment in an evaluation of the impact of operative drainage in patients with CP. The author now reports on a prospective study of 143 patients with this diagnosis. METHODS: Each patient underwent 1) ERCP, 2) the Bentiromide PABA, 3) 72-hour fecal fat test, 4) oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and 5) fat meal (LIPOMUL)--stimulated pancreatic polypeptide release (PP). All patients were stratified as mild/moderate (M/M) or severe CP on the basis of a 5-point system that was developed by the author. Patients were studied at 16-month intervals. RESULTS: All 143 patients underwent initial and follow-up evaluations in a mean follow-up of 47.3 months; 83 of 143 patients had M/M grade at initial evaluation. Eighty-seven patients underwent (MPD) decompression to relieve abdominal pain. In a separate prospective 17 patients with a diagnosis of CP, a grade of M/M and non-disabling abdominal pain were randomized to operative or non-operative treatment; 9 of these randomized patients were operated upon and 8 were not. No patient improved their grade during follow-up; 47 of 83 M/M patients had operative drainage and 36 did not. This grade was preserved in 41 of 47 (87%) operated patients but in only 8 of the 36 non-operated patients (22%). In the randomized trial, seven of nine operated patients retained their functional status in follow-up, whereas only two of eight patients (25%) randomized to non-operation preserved their functional grade. CONCLUSIONS: These data in this large study as well as among a previous randomized sample, support a policy of early operative drainage before the development of irreversible functional impairment in patients with chronic pancreatitis and associated dilation of the main pancreatic duct.

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Selected References

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