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Eur J Radiol. 2004 Oct;52(1):67-72.

Peripancreatic vascular abnormalities complicating acute pancreatitis: contrast-enhanced helical CT findings.

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Department of Radiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



To determine the prevalence and morphologic helical computed tomography (CT) features of peripancreatic vascular abnormalities in patients with acute pancreatic inflammatory disease in correlation with the severity of the pancreatitis.


One hundred and fifty-nine contrast-enhanced helical CT scans of 100 consecutive patients with acute pancreatitis were retrospectively and independently reviewed by three observers. CT scans were scored using the CT severity index (CTSI): pancreatitis was graded as mild (0-2 points), moderate (3-6 points), and severe (7-10 points). Interobserver agreement for both the CT severity index and the presence of peripancreatic vascular abnormalities was calculated (K-statistic). Correlation between the prevalence of complications and the degree of pancreatitis was estimated using Fisher's exact test.


The severity of pancreatitis was graded as mild (n = 59 scans), moderate (n = 82 scans), and severe (n = 18 scans). Venous abnormalities detected included splenic vein (SV) thrombosis (31 scans, 19 patients), superior mesenteric vein (SMV) thrombosis (20 scans, 14 patients), and portal vein (PV) thrombosis (17 scans, 13 patients). Arterial hemorrhage occurred in five patients (6 scans). In our series, no cases of arterial pseudoaneurysm formation were detected. The interobserver agreement range for scoring the degree of pancreatitis and the overall presence of major vascular abnormalities was 75.5-79.2 and 86.2-98.8%, respectively. The presence of the vascular abnormalities in correlation with the severity of pancreatitis was variable.


Vascular abnormalities are relatively common CT findings in association with acute pancreatitis. The CT severity index is insufficiently accurate in predicting some of these complications since no statistically significant correlation between their prevalence and the severity of pancreatitis could be established.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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