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J Am Coll Surg. 2005 Oct;201(4):497-502.

Computed tomography severity index is an early prognostic tool for acute pancreatitis.

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Department of Surgery, Rode Kruis Ziekenhuis, The Hague, The Netherlands.



Acute pancreatitis is a severe disease with unpredictable course and outcomes. It is especially hard to identify early those patients who will have a fulminant course. In a prospective observational study, we tested the hypothesis that the CT Severity Index (CTSI), established within 48hours after admission, is prognostic for morbidity and mortality and can predict the necessity for admission to an ICU.


From January 1994 to October 2002, all patients with the diagnosis of first time acute pancreatitis underwent spiral CT with intravenous contrast within 48hours of admission. The extent of inflammation and necrosis was assessed to define the CTSI. Patients were initially managed in an ICU in a standardized fashion. Complications and mortality were registered in a systematic manner.


Seventy-nine patients were admitted with acute pancreatitis. The overall complication rate was 57%; mortality was 9%. In patients with a CTSI of 0 to 3, these rates were 42% and 2%, respectively; in those with CTSI of 4 to 6, 81% and 19%, respectively; and in those with CTSI of 7 to 10, 100% and 33%, respectively. Outcomes of subsequent CT scans did not alter the initial prognosis. Early CTSI correlated well with the incidence of complications, sepsis, mortality, and necessity for ICU admission.


Acute pancreatitis is associated with marked morbidity and mortality. Initial admission to an ICU and standardized conservative treatment are justified for all patients. Early establishment of the CTSI is an excellent prognostic tool for complications and mortality. Patients with a CTSI of 0 to 3 can safely be discharged from the ICU.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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