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J Gastrointest Surg. 2013 Feb;17(2):332-8. doi: 10.1007/s11605-012-2100-6. Epub 2012 Dec 1.

External tube pancreatostomy reduces the risk of mortality associated with completion pancreatectomy for symptomatic fistulas complicating pancreaticoduodenectomy.

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Division of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic and Digestive Surgery, Ospedale Mauriziano Umberto I, Torino, Italy.



This study aimed to compare the outcome of a pancreas-preserving technique consisting in a two-step procedure (external tube pancreatostomy (ETP) after resection of dehisced anastomosis followed by late anastomosis completion) with that of completion pancreatectomy (CP) for grade C fistulas complicating pancreaticoduodenectomies (PDs).


CP is the most commonly performed operation to treat a dehisced pancreato-jejunal anastomosis associated with deteriorating clinical status or hemorrhage. However, mortality of CP is high and long-term consequences are severe.


All consecutive patients who underwent PD between 1990 and 2010 were identified. Clinicopathological data, operative details, and outcomes were analyzed.


Out of 370 patients, 112 (30.2 %) developed a pancreatic fistula, which was severe (grade C) in 47 cases. Forty-two patients were treated surgically by CP (n = 23; median time following PD, 10 days), ETP (n = 9; median time following PD, 8 days) or other various procedures (n = 10). Indications for re-operation and operative time of CP and ETP (207.5' versus 170', respectively) were similar, while postoperative mortality was significantly higher after CP (43.5 % versus 0 %, p = 0.030). Moreover, the need for a second emergency re-operation was threefold higher after CP than after ETP (39.1 % versus 11.1 %). After a median of 88 days, seven patients completed the pancreato-jejunal anastomosis without major complications or mortality. After a median follow-up of 14 months, none of the ETP patients developed diabetes.


External tube pancreatostomy significantly reduces the mortality associated with emergency CP. Thus, it should always be considered when deciding the treatment option in emergency surgery for severe pancreatic fistulas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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