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Pancreatology. 2013 Nov-Dec;13(6):605-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pan.2013.10.002. Epub 2013 Oct 16.

Pancreatic injuries in earthquake victims: what have we learnt?

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Department of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreato Surgery, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, No. 37, Guo Xue Xiang, Chengdu 610041, Sichuan, China.



To analyze the clinical characteristic and management of patients with pancreatic injuries from the Wen-Chuan and Lu-Shan earthquakes.


We retrospectively reviewed 39,784 patients from the Wen-Chuan earthquake and 1489 from the Lu-Shan earthquake. The demographics, clinical data, treatment strategies, and outcomes of patients with pancreatic injuries were recorded and compared between survivors of the two earthquakes.


Pancreatic injury occurred only in a small proportion (0.2%) in patients with trauma on admission, and most (61%) patients had Grades I-II pancreatic injuries. Blunt trauma was the leading cause of pancreatic trauma. Most patients (95%) suffered multiple injuries, of which chest injuries (61%) were the most common. Elevated serum amylase levels were observed in 50 (86%) of 58 patients, and computed tomography (CT) identified pancreatic injuries in 32 (80%) of 40 patients. A significantly higher rate (p = 0.043) of pancreatic complication was present in patients with Grade III and IV injuries (38%) than in those with Grade I and II injuries (18%). Forty patients were initially treated by conservative management with 6 (15%) requiring delayed operations. Four (67%) pancreatic complications and 2 (33%) deaths occurred in patients with delayed operations.


Repeated serum amylase analysis, CT, and laparoscopic exploration were reliable diagnostic modalities to diagnose pancreatic injury. Conservative management was safe in patients with Grade I and II injuries. Delayed operation, especially for Grade III patients, resulted in increased morbidity and mortality.


Earthquake; Injury; Pancreas

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