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Br J Surg. 1998 Jun;85(6):755-9.

Percutaneous aspiration for bacteriological studies in patients with necrotizing pancreatitis.

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  • 1Department of Digestive Surgery, University Hospital Henri Mondor, Créteil, France.



Percutaneous computed tomography (CT)-guided aspiration of abdominal collections is performed in necrotizing pancreatitis to detect infection of necrosis, which is an adverse prognostic factor and requires surgical drainage. However, in the case of sterile aspirates, the outcome and the optimum management are subject to debate. This study examined the clinical and bacteriological outcome of patients with severe acute pancreatitis with initially sterile necrosis and assessed the efficiency of percutaneous drainage in this setting.


Seventeen patients hospitalized for necrotizing pancreatitis with a septic course underwent a preliminary sterile CT-guided aspiration. Eight patients underwent simultaneous percutaneous drainage of the punctured collection. Supportive therapy was continued unless severe clinical deterioration or proven secondary infection of necrosis indicated the need for necrosectomy and drainage.


Secondary infection of necrosis was observed in two patients of nine who had only fine-needle aspiration cytology of the collection, and in seven of eight it was drained percutaneously (P = 0.01). Only one patient drained percutaneously recovered without surgery. Surgical drainage was required in 12 patients. The hospital mortality rate was 29 per cent and was not significantly affected by the bacteriological status of necrosis.


Percutaneous drainage of sterile collections predisposed to secondary infection of the necrosis and did not cure the patients. A first sterile percutaneous aspiration did not predict a favourable course and surgery frequently remains necessary.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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