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Gastrointest Endosc. 1998 Jul;48(1):53-7.

A study of the effect of age on pancreatic duct morphology.

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Department of Hepato-Gastroenterology, Archet II Hospital, Nice, France.



Interpretation of endoscopic pancreatograms is difficult in elderly patients. Age-related parenchymal changes and associated ductographic changes are ill-defined, and it is sometimes difficult to distinguish these from pathologic processes.


To define age-related pancreatogram changes, all endoscopic retrograde pancreatograms performed in patients older than 70 years of age over a 6-year period were analyzed and compared with those of a control group (younger than 50 years of age).


Of the 136 elderly subjects included in the study, 31 (22.8%) were found to have definite pathology. Comparing the remaining 105 subjects with the control group, the mean main pancreatic duct diameter (in millimeters) was larger in the head (5.3 vs. 3.3), body (3.7 vs. 2.3), and tail (2.6 vs. 1.6) (p < 0.05). The duct diameter also increased significantly in each of the age cohorts (70 to 79, 80 to 89, and 90 to 99 years). Only 33 of 105 (31.4%) of the elderly patients had duct diameters within defined normal limits. In the majority (63.3%), dilatation was global but in a minority it was confined to the head and/or body. In 21 subjects the ductal diameter was greater than 2 standard deviations above normal, and in 5 subjects it was greater than 3 standard deviations above normal. Dilatation of secondary ducts was also observed.


The majority of elderly patients who do not have pancreatic pathology have a dilated pancreatic duct by comparison with younger patients. Patient age must be considered when interpreting endoscopic pancreatograms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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