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J Surg Res. 1993 Feb;54(2):150-6.

Arterial hemorrhage complicating pancreatic pseudocysts: role of angiography.

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Department of Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29425.


Major arterial hemorrhage associated with pancreatic pseudocysts represents a formidable complication with high mortality rates. This study was undertaken to analyze presentation and outcome and to assess the role of angiography in diagnosis and management of this complication. A retrospective review of 180 patients referred for surgical management of pancreatic pseudocysts from 1964 to 1991 identified 13 patients (7.2%) with arterial hemorrhage. Eight patients presented with intracystic hemorrhage, 4 with upper gastrointestinal bleeding, and 1 with intra-abdominal bleeding. Six patients had gastroduodenal artery bleeding, 4 splenic, and 1 each left gastric, right colic, and left gastroepiploic. The site of bleeding was identified with selective visceral angiography in 9 patients; evidence of pseudocyst bleeding was seen in 5 of 7 patients who had contrast-enhanced computerized tomography (CT) scans. Angiographic embolization for control of hemorrhage was used in 6 patients and operative control in 7. Over the past decade, bleeding has been controlled with angiographic embolization in all patients except 1 with massive bleeding due to splenic artery erosion. Average blood loss was less in patients treated with angiographic embolization (6.8 vs 17.5 units, packed red cells, P < .05, Wilcoxon rank sum test). The sole mortality was a patient with cirrhosis treated in 1969. Clinical presentation of pseudocyst bleeding is variable; the underlying cause is usually related to chronic pancreatitis due to alcohol abuse. The dynamic contrast-enhanced CT scan is valuable in demonstrating evidence of pseudocyst bleeding. Accurate diagnosis with dynamic CT scan and angiography and control of bleeding with angiographic embolization has improved the outcome in patients with this complication.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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