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Digestion. 2007;75(2-3):165-71. Epub 2007 Aug 7.

Preoperative acute pancreatitis in periampullary tumors: implications for surgical management.

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Department of General Surgery, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.



Pancreatitis is the most serious complication of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), occurring in 2-20% of the patients. Currently there is no information about the impact of preoperative pancreatitis on the surgical management of periampullary tumors.


Ten patients with periampullary tumors and preoperative acute pancreatitis were retrospectively analyzed. Four patients who underwent pylorus-preserving pancreaticoduodenectomy (group A) and 6 patients who underwent total pancreatectomy (group B) were compared with a matching control group (age, gender, stage, tumor and operation type) of 30 patients without pancreatitis (group C) who underwent an operation during the same period. Parameters analyzed were C-reactive protein (CRP), leukocytes, aminotransferases, amylase, lipase, operative time, blood loss, hospital stay, morbidity, and mortality.


In the study group, 5 patients had pancreatic adenocarcinoma, 3 had distal bile duct cancers, and 2 had ampullary tumors. None of the patients had severe acute necrotizing pancreatitis that necessitated intervention prior to tumor resection. Preoperative median CRP levels in group B were 8.4- and 5.6-fold higher than those of groups A and C, respectively. In contrast, leukocytes, aminotransferases, amylase, and lipase levels were not significantly different. The presence of acute pancreatitis slightly prolonged the duration of the operation (+15 min), increased morbidity (60 vs. 33%) and lengthened median hospital stay (19.5 vs. 14.5 days) in groups A and B vs. group C. All patients with preoperative pancreatitis were managed without mortality.


Preoperative pancreatitis is more commonly seen in patients with non-pancreatic periampullary tumors, and considerably influences surgical management. High preoperative CRP levels indicate a more severe form of pancreatic damage that may necessitate a total pancreatectomy.

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